Ivan Shulyuk with his wife Yuliya on the day of appeal

Unjust Verdicts

Appeal in Krasnoyarsk Upheld Ivan Shulyuk's Sentence: Seven Years Suspended Sentence for His Convictions

Krasnoyarsk Territory

On September 19, 2023, by the decision of a panel of judges of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Court chaired by Diana Davydenko, the sentence against Ivan Shulyuk, 47, a Jehovah's Witness from Siberia, was enforced.

In May 2023, the court imposed a seven year suspended sentence on Shulyuk with a four year probationary period. They viewed the discussion of the Bible, prayers and singing religious songs with friends as organizing the activities of an extremist organization. The believer does not agree with the sentence that was enforced. In his final statement to the court of appeal, he said that the investigation is confusing the meaning of the law, as it "deliberately interprets legitimate religious activity as being the activity of a banned legal entity."

In the Krasnoyarsk Territory, 30 Jehovah's Witnesses have already faced persecution for their faith and ten of them have been convicted. Human rights activists unanimously condemn the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. Elizabeth Clark, an international expert on human rights and European Union law, said: "Jehovah's Witnesses . . . face increasing persecution of its members in Russia for exercising their rights to freedom of religion or belief. This violates Russia's obligations under international law and its own Constitution."

Case of Shulyuk in Nazarov

Case history
Ivan Shulyuk’s grandparents were subjected to repression for their faith in the 1940s and 1950s. In 2020, their grandson, a peaceful believer from Nazarov, faced the same persecution. In June, Ivan ended up in a temporary detention center after a rash of searches in his city. The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against him, on suspicion of organizing the activities of an extremist organization, solely because of his religion. Shulyuk spent about a month in custody, then he was released under a recognizance agreement. In August 2021, the case went to trial. The case materials contained expert opinions confirming that the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses is not prohibited and there are no signs of extremism in the materials examined. In May 2023, the City Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory sentenced the believer to a seven year suspended sentence. An appeal court upheld the decision in September.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Krasnoyarsk Territory
Locality:
Nazarovo
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, he is "a leader with broad functionality" and "forms a strong opinion about the need to continue the activities of the religious organization Jehovah's Witnesses despite its ban."
Court case number:
12002040035000015
Initiated:
June 17, 2020
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Khakassia
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-4/2023 (1-26/2022; 1-365/2021)
Court of First Instance:
Назаровский городской суд Красноярского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Лев Афанасьев
Background