Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

New Searches in the Altai Territory. Security Forces Raided Homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in Biysk

Altaisky Territory

On January 25, 2023, searches were carried out in four homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Biysk.

The searches began at 6 in the morning, they were carried out by officers of the Investigative Committee and the FSB. Electronic devices were confiscated from believers. After the searches, a man and a woman were taken away for interrogation and released only in the evening. Two more believers were warned that they would be called in for interrogation later. It became known that the allegation against the believers was filed by a man who had previously feigned interest in studying the Bible.

Update. According to updated information, the Investigative Department for the city of Biysk of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Altai Territory  initiated a criminal case against Sergey Lukin. He is suspected of participating in the activity of an extremist organization (part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Investigator I.V. Lobada took a recognizance agreement from the believer. Searches and interrogations of the believers lasted anywhere from 5 to 13 hours. Armed law enforcement officers in masks took part in the investigative actions. The security forces said they were looking for “weapons, drugs and extremist literature,” however, they seized electronic devices, personal notes and Bibles, including in the Synodal translation. In one instance, the law enforcement officers did not show any documents before the search.

This is the second raid against Jehovah's Witnesses in the region. The previous operation, code-named "Armageddon", jump-started the criminal prosecution of six Jehovah's Witnesses.

Lukin's case in Biysk

Case history
In December 2022, the Investigative Committee in Biysk opened a criminal case against unidentified persons. Under this case, searches were carried out in the homes of local Jehovah’s Witnesses in January 2023. The suspect was a respected businessman, native of the city, Sergey Lukin. According to investigators, he took part in the “activities of an extremist organization” — this is how an ordinary meeting of believers to discuss the Bible was interpreted. The reason for the criminal prosecution was a statement from a man who was allegedly interested in the Bible. After the interrogation, Lukin was released on recognizance agreementt.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Altaisky Territory
Locality:
Biysk
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, "conducted a study of the religious teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, gave comments and expressed their point of view on the issues discussed" (from the decision to bring as an accused)
Court case number:
12302010010000193
Initiated:
December 1, 2022
Current case stage:
trial in Court of First Instance
Investigating:
Investigation Department for the city of Biysk of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Altai Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Background