Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

After a Day in Detention, a 59-year-old Believer is Placed Under House Arrest. A New Criminal Case Against one of Jehovah's Witnesses in Primorye

Primorye Territory

On November 18, 2022, in the village of Tavrichanka, a search was carried out in the house of 59-year-old Viktor Chernov. The next day he was interrogated and placed in a temporary detention center for a day. As it became known, the reason for the detention of the believer was the testimony of a secret agent who collected information about Jehovah's Witnesses.

The search took place in the absence of the owner under the leadership of A. A. Tolkunov, investigator of the Investigative Committee, with the participation of employees of the center for counteracting extremism. According to eyewitnesses, the investigator explained what was happening by saying that "there is information about holding prohibited meetings via the Internet."

The security forces searched the house, garage and sauna for four hours. At that time, only Viktor's daughter-in-law, who does not profess the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, was at home. After the search, she was taken to the investigation department for interrogation. The Chernovs' electronic devices were seized, along with a camera, a Synodal translation of the Bible, a calendar and a summary of a Bible talk on the topic “An Honest Marriage Before God.”

The next day, Viktor Chernov appeared for interrogation on a summons and learned that a criminal case had been initiated against him under an article for extremism (part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The day before, it was separated from the case of Oleg Lonshakov.

On November 20, the court placed Chernov under house arrest and released him from custody.

More than 45 Jehovah's Witnesses have faced persecution for their faith in Primorye, more than in any other region of Russia. In the summer of 2022, the European Court of Human Rights declared the  accusations of extremism against Jehovah's Witnesses as groundless.

Case of Chernov in Tavrichanka

Case history
In November 2022, while admiring the beauty of the national park “Land of the Leopard” with friends, Viktor Chernov, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses from the village of Tavrichanka, learned that his home was searched. The next day he and his son, who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, were summoned to a neighboring village to be interrogated by the Investigative Committee. There he learned that a criminal case had been initiated against him on charges of extremism. His son was released, but Viktor was detained and placed in a temporary detention center for one day. On the following day, the court placed the believer under house arrest, which lasted until March 2023. Chernov was added to the Rosfinmonitoring list of extremists, and all his accounts were blocked. Due to the restrictions imposed on him, the believer could not pay for medical treatment or visit doctors, so his health deteriorated. In June 2023, the believer was placed under a recognizance agreement.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Primorye Territory
Locality:
Tavrichanka
Court case number:
12202050015000044
Initiated:
November 16, 2022
Current case stage:
review of case materials by the accused
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Background