In the photo: Alexander Seredkin saying goodbye to his son, Novosibirsk, November 2022

Unjust Verdicts

In Novosibirsk, 67-year-old Aleksandr Seredkin Was Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Reading The Bible

Novosibirsk Region

On November 15, 2022, the consideration of the case of Aleksandr Seredkin was completed in the Oktyabrsky District Court of Novosibirsk. Judge Yevgeny Zakharov considered holding religious meetings, saying prayers and reading the Bible as extremist and sentenced the believer to six years in a penal colony. He was taken into custody in the courtroom.

The criminal case under Part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation against Seredkin was initiated in April 2019 by the senior investigator for especially important cases of the Federal Security Service of Russia in the Novosibirsk Region, Lieutenant Colonel of Justice E. V. Selyunin. The believer was accused of "organizing meetings and leading the reading and discussion" of religious literature.

After the search, Aleksandr was sent to a temporary detention center for a day, and then the court imposed upon him 6 months of house arrest. When the preventive measure was changed to a recognizance agreement, Aleksandr noted: “Now I could go outside and feel relatively free. But it was unpleasant to see me and my wife being followed.”

The investigation lasted almost 3 years, and in March 2022 the case went to court. At one of the hearings, a secret witness under the pseudonym "Ivan" who attended meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses and collaborated with the FSB, confirmed that he had not heard any extremist statements from the defendant. Another witness for the prosecution described Seredkin's actions as follows: he "read religious literature, organized joint religious rituals, in particular, singing."

The Seredkins coped with the hardships of the criminal proceedings thanks to the help of relatives and fellow believers: they brought food, took them to the lawyer, printed out documents, and helped to understand the case materials. “On my own I would never have been able to deal with it or even understand it. But there was all this amazing help!  Aleksandr shared, “The sons assured of their love and said that they were proud of me.”

The believer considers the sentence unjust and can appeal against it.

In Novosibirsk, eight Jehovah's Witnesses are subjected to prosecution for believing in God, and two of them have been sentenced.

The case of Seredkin in Novosibirsk

Case history
The criminal prosecution of Aleksandr Seredkin began in April 2019, when security forces invaded the homes of civilians. During the searches, law enforcement officers planted banned books on believers. As a result of the raid, the FSB opened a criminal case for organizing and participating in the activities of an extremist organization against three believers: Alexander Seredkin, Valery Maletskov and Marina Chaplykina. Later, Seredkin’s case was separated into a separate proceeding. The believer was included in the list of Rosfinmonitoring, which caused difficulties in obtaining a pension. Aleksandr spent a day in a temporary detention center and six months under house arrest. In March 2022, the case went to court. The accusation was based on the testimony of a secret witness who feigned an interest in the Bible and collaborated with the FSB. In November of the same year, the believer was sentenced to 6 years in a general regime colony and placed in a pre-trial detention center, and the appeal approved this sentence.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Novosibirsk Region
Locality:
Novosibirsk
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, he "conducted collective worship services based on the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) with followers of the doctrine ... supervised the reading and discussion... religious literature"
Court case number:
12107500001000044
Initiated:
July 21, 2021
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
SO UFSB of Russia in the Novosibirsk region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-277/2022
Court of First Instance:
Октябрьский районный суд г. Новосибирска
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Евгений Захаров
Background