Valery Maletskov with his wife and Marina Chaplykina before their conviction, Novosibirsk, December 2023
A Court in Novosibirsk Sent Valeriy Maletskov and Marina Chaplykina to a Penal Colony for Believing in Jehovah God for Six Years and Four Years, RespectivelyNovosibirsk Region
On December 18, 2023, the judge of the Novosibirsk District Court, Oleg Karpets, sentenced Marina Chaplykina to 4 years in prison, and Valeriy Maletskov to 6 years in prison just because of their religion. They were taken into custody in the courtroom. The believers do not admit their guilt and can appeal the verdict.
In April 2019, FSB investigator Selyunin opened a criminal case against the believers, accusing them of extremism. On the same day, searches were carried out at a total of 12 addresses. In one case, the planting of banned literature was seen. Valeriy Maletskov, who lives with his wife and young child, was invaded by the armed security forces, breaking down the front door. He was accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization, and Marina Chaplykina was accused of participating in it and financing it. The man was placed under house arrest, and the woman was placed under recognizance agreement.
After three years of investigation, the case was submitted to the Novosibirsk District Court. The accusation was based on recordings of conversations with believers made by a secret witness "Ivan", who attended services of Jehovah's Witnesses.
The support of friends helped the believers cope with what was happening. Marina recalls: "When they found out that I had lost my job, [fellow believers] immediately collected a parcel of food and handed over the money. They sent notes with words of encouragement. I felt like a part of a big family. When it was especially difficult emotionally, I unexpectedly received letters that were handed to me from Belarus and later from Japan. They were beautiful words of assurance of love".
Valeriy said: "Under house arrest, I could not work, so I lost my source of income for my family. But, most interestingly, for the first couple of months, our family received help from fellow believers. And when we calculated how much was given to us in total, it turned out that this is exactly the amount that I would have received if I had been working at my job for 2 months".
The believers were among 8 Jehovah's Witnesses persecuted for their faith in the Novosibirsk region. Aleksandr Seredkin, whose case was separated into separate proceedings from the case of Maletskov and Chaplykina, is serving 6 years in a penal colony for his convictions.