Four of the six convicts (Yevgeny Razumov, Vladimir Popov, Alexey Dyadkin and Nikita Moiseev) on the day the verdict was announced

Unjust Verdicts

The Court Sentenced Six of Jehovah's Witnesses in Gukovo to 6.5 to 7 Years in Prison for Talking About God

Rostov Region

On September 19, 2022, the judge of the Gukovo City Court of the Rostov Region, Natalya Batura, sentenced Aleksey Goreliy and Oleg Shidlovskiy to 6.5 years in penal colony; Nikita Moiseyev, Aleksey Dyadkin, Vladimir Popov and Yevgeniy Razumov each received 7 years in penal colony.

The court considered it a crime to take part in peaceful religious meetings, pray and perform religious songs.

On August 7, 2020, Vitaliy Pyatitsky, an investigator of the department for investigating especially important cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Rostov Region, opened a criminal case against six believers under Part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of the activities of an extremist organization). The next day, the FSB and the Investigative Committee officers searched their homes, and later all six were thrown behind bars, where they spent more than 2 years.

Aleksei Goreliy has a young child, and Oleg Shidlovsky has a teenage daughter.

Currently, 18 people have been persecuted for believing in God in the Rostov Region, 9 of whom have been convicted and sentenced to various terms. Alexander Parkov, Arsen Avanesov and Vilen Avanesov are serving their sentences in penal colonies.

Since 1993, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has delivered more than 50 judgments that protect the right of Jehovah's Witnesses to worship, spread beliefs, use religious literature, raise children in accordance with their beliefs, make their own decisions regarding medical treatment, not take hands weapons for reasons of conscience and many other rights. In addition, the ECHR did not leave a stone unturned in the common myths about Jehovah's Witnesses, recognizing groundless accusations of extremism, a threat to the security of the state and society.

The case of Moiseyev and Others in Gukovo

Case History
In August 2020 the security forces conducted searches in the homes of residents of Gukovo. The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Aleksey Dyadkin, Vladimir Popov, Yevgeniy Razumov, Aleksey Goreliy, Nikita Moiseyev and Oleg Shidlovskiy. These peaceful believers were accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. The men’s crime, according to the investigators, is that they “prayed and sang songs to Jehovah God.” Since August 2020 all six have been in pre-trial. As it later became known, an infiltrated FSB agent had been watching the believers for a long time. In November of 2021 the case went to trial. The testimonies of interviewed religious scholars confirmed that these men were tried only for their peaceful religious activities. In September 2022 the court sentenced Goreliy and Shidlovskiy to six-and-a-half years in a general penal colony, while the rest of the believers were sentenced to seven years. In January of 2023 the appeal court approved the verdict, and then six months later the cassational court upheld it.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Rostov Region
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, "they convened meetings of fellow believers, prayed and sang songs to Jehovah God."
Court case number:
August 7, 2020
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Rostov Region Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Investigative Committee of Russia
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-20/2022 (1-710/2021)
Гуковский городской суд Ростовской области
Наталья Батура
Case History