Yevgeny Egorov with his wife on the day of the appeal

Unjust Verdicts

A Two-and-a-Half-Year Suspended Sentence—The Outcome of Yevgeniy Yegorov's Long Trial. The Appellate Court in Birobidzhan Upheld the Verdict Against the Believer

Jewish Autonomous Area

On April 11, 2023, the Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region upheld the guilty verdict and the suspended sentence against Yevgeniy Yegorov for his faith.

Earlier, in February 2023, the Birobidzhan District Court resentenced the believer to two and a half years of suspended imprisonment. At the first trial, which ended in June 2021, the court rendered an identical decision. The appellate court upheld it, but the believer did not agree with the verdict and filed a cassation appeal. The cassation court called the decision of the appellate court "essentially unmotivated" and pointed out a number of procedural violations. As a result, the case was returned to the court of first instance. The criminal prosecution of Yegorov has been going on for almost four years.

Yevgeniy's mother, Larisa Artamonova, also received a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence on similar charges. In total, 23 of Jehovah's Witnesses in the region have been prosecuted for their faith. Four of them were sentenced to actual imprisonment.

The world human rights community and the European Court of Human Rights consider the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses unlawful. However, Russian courts continue to ignore the position of the ECHR, which stated: “It [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)

Case of Yegorov in Birobidzhan

Case History
Yevgeniy Yegorov is an aspiring writer from Birobidzhan who, because of being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was accused by the FSB of participating in extremist activities. In May 2018, security forces raided the home where he and his mother lived, and a year later, they initiated a criminal case against him. While under investigation, Yevgeniy got married, but due to a recognizance agreement, he was forced to cancel the honeymoon trip. Also, the young man was included on the Rosfinmonitoring list of terrorists and extremists. The court considered his case for a year and a half and finally gave him a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence in June 2021. This decision was upheld by the appellate court, but the cassation court returned the case to the regional court, which, in turn, sent the case back to the first instance court. Upon reconsideration, the position of the courts did not change—the suspended sentence of two and a half years entered into force in April 2023 after a second appeal.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Jewish Autonomous Area
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, “in order to extend the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses by improving the skills of preaching and other religious activities, they studied ... the publication of Jehovah's Witnesses ‘The Holy Scriptures / New World Translation’, recognized as extremist”
Court case number:
July 29, 2019
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Russian Federal Security Office for Jewish Autonomous Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-38/2023 (1-717/2022; 1-11/2021; 1-48/2020; 1-624/2019)
Court of First Instance:
Биробиджанский районный суд Еврейской автономной области
[i18n] Судья первой инстанции:
Станислав Ушаков (судья первой инстанции на повторном рассмотрении)
Case History