Igor Gusev near the Zheleznodorozhny District Court of Krasnoyarsk on the day of sentencing
Six Hundred Thousand Rubles—What Igor Gusev Will Pay for His Faith in God. The Appellate Court in Krasnoyarsk Upheld the Verdict of the Lower CourtKrasnoyarsk Territory
On March 28, 2023, a panel of judges of the Krasnoyarsk Territorial Court chaired by Natalya Abramova upheld the decision of the lower court. Igor Gusev, who is 58 years old, will have to pay a fine of 600,000 rubles for his faith.
The court of first instance imposed this punishment on the believer in November 2022. The investigation and trial lasted nine months. The case was based on recordings of four worship services of Jehovah's Witnesses secretly recorded by an undercover agent. The prosecution did not present a single extremist statement by Igor in the transcripts of these meetings of fellow believers. The collected evidence revealed only the religious affiliation of the believer, which he never hid to begin with.
Igor Gusev insists that he is not guilty. He describes how he feels about being persecuted for faith: “When I read about ... how brothers and sisters were in penal colonies in the USSR, I admired the strength of their faith. When the arrests began [in Russia], I saw in this the fulfillment of Jesus' words that his disciples would be taken to court.” Gusev also described what helps him stay positive: “The brothers and sisters who come to the courthouse encourage me so much. They support me with their kind words and have no fear of persecution by law enforcement agencies.”
In June 2022, the European Court of Human Rights made a historic decision that defended Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. The court stated that Article 9 of the European Convention “protects the right of believers to meet peacefully in order to worship in the manner prescribed by their religion.” (§ 267)