Criminal trial

In Blagoveshchensk, the Court of Appeal Overturned the Harsh Sentences of Four Jehovah's Witnesses from the Town of Tynda. The Case Was Sent for Retrial, and the Believers Were Released

Amur Region

On December 27, 2022, the Judicial Chamber of the Amur Regional Court overturned the verdict against Vladimir Bukin, Valeriy Slashchev, Mikhail Burkov and Sergey Yuferov and returned their case for a new trial. The men were released and signed recognizance agreements.

Two months earlier, the Tyndinskiy District Court sentenced Bukin, Slashchev and Yuferov to 6.5 years in a penal colony, and Burkov to 6 years and 2 months. Following the announcement of the verdict, all four believers were waiting for the appeal decision in the detention center.

While in custody, Vladimir Bukin fell ill, but thanks to the timely delivery of medicines, he quickly recovered. Mikhail Burkov also developed health problems, and the small cold cell, where everyone except him smoked, adversely affected his condition. However, the attitude towards the believers from other prisoners was good, and they also were able to receive letters of support.

In their appeals, all four referred to the decision of the European Court, which defended Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. According to that decision, the accusations of incitement to religious hatred are contrived: “The Court considers that the applicants [Jehovah’s Witnesses] were prosecuted for conduct that equates to exercising their right to freedom of religion in community with others” (§ 268). “Therefore, we still have the right to freely practice the religion of our choice, including reading the Bible and discussing it with others, praying to God, singing songs of praise to God and talking to other people about our faith,” the defendants mentioned in their appeals.

The four residents of Tynda hope for a fair retrial of their case and an acquittal. In the Amur Region, seven of Jehovah's Witnesses have already been convicted for their faith and sentenced to various prison terms.

Case of Bukin and Others in Tynda

Case History
In 2018, in the town of Tynda, FSB agent Nurakov, feigning interest in the Bible, began attending religious services of Jehovah’s Witnesses and collecting information about them. In November 2019, a criminal case was initiated against Sergey Yuferov, Valeriy Slashchev, Mikhail Burkov and Vladimir Bukin. A wave of searches took place throughout the city. Obukhov, the investigator of FSB, who has at least eight cases against Jehovah’s Witnesses from the Amur region, accused the men of organizing the activities of an extremist organization and involving others in it. In June 2021, the case went to trial. A year and a half later, the believers were sentenced to six years and two months to six and a half years in prison. In December 2022, the appeal overturned the verdict and sent the case for a new trial, and the believers were released from the pre-trial detention center, where they spent two months. In June 2023, they were again sentenced to prison. Bukin, Slashchev and Yuferov were given six years and four months each, and Burkov - six years and two months. A further appeal in August 2023 upheld this decision.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Amur Region
Suspected of:
по версии следствия, «организовали собрания последователей... религиозных организаций»
Court case number:
November 11, 2019
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
СО УФСБ России по Амурской области
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.2 (1.1)
Court case number:
1-45/2023 (1-9/2022; 1-131/2021)
Court of First Instance:
Тындинский районный суд Амурской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Валентина Брикова
Case History