Aleksandr Nikolaev with his wife Yevgeniya, mother-in-law and five children at the colony’s exit. September 2023

Served Sentences

Aleksandr Nikolayev, Father of Five, Convicted for His Faith, Was Released from the Colony

Krasnodar Territory

On September 19, 2023, Aleksandr Nikolayev, a father of five, was released from a penal colony in Khadyzhensk, where he spent almost a year for his faith in Jehovah God. The believer was greeted by his wife and children, and mother-in-law. At the colony's exit an FSB and police officers were on duty, and there were several police vans.

The verdict - two and a half years in prison - was handed down to Nikolayev in December 2021. Aleksandr was the first believer to be given a real prison sentence after the decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, explaining that participation in worship services is not a reason for conviction under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Despite this, the man was found guilty of extremism for reading a Bible passage via video conferencing.

Aleksandr was detained in September 2021. In total, he spent thirteen months in a pre-trial detention center and eleven months in a penal colony. For some time, he was held in strict conditions of detention. The believer was also denied parole. All this time, Aleksandr was strengthened by letters of support coming from around the world.

In the Krasnodar Territory, 32 of Jehovah's Witnesses are already being persecuted for their faith, six of them are in the prison colonies. On September 15, Maksim Beltikov from the village of Pavlovskaya was released from prison.

The case of Nikolayev in Kholmskaya

Case History
In April 2021, FSB officers, accompanied by riot police, came to search the home of Nikolayev couple who are the parents of five children, two of whom are adopted. Shortly before this, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Aleksandr Nikolayev for participation in extremist activities for reading the Bible at a meeting. In July 2021, the case went to trial. Two months later, the believer was sent to a pre-trial detention center, and in December of the same year, the court sentenced the believer to two and a half years in prison. At the time the sentence came into force, Nikolayev had served more than half of his sentence in the detention center. The believer was taken to the penal colony in March 2023 and the next month he asked a court for parole, but was refused. At the end of July 2023, the court of cassation upheld the sentence, lifted the additional restrictions after release. Nikolayev was released from the penal colony in September 2023.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Krasnodar Territory
Suspected of:
"through information and telecommunication networks ... entered into conversations and religious discussions, participated in collective discussions of the content of religious books "Jehovah's Witnesses", including the so-called "Holy Scripture" (Bible) ... emphasizing that these books contain true knowledge of God" (from the verdict of the court)
Court case number:
March 31, 2021
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Абинский районный суд Краснодарского края
Николай Сурмач
Case History