Yuriy Yuskov is preparing to speak in court. January 2024

Unjust Verdicts

In Chuvashia, the Appeal Approved the Verdict for Yuriy Yuskov. The Believer Will Turn 90 After Serving the Sentence

Chuvashia

Yuriy Yuskov is the oldest Jehovah's Witness convicted in Russia. On Monday, May 13, the Supreme Court of the Chuvash Republic approved the five-year suspended sentence assigned to him, but with a slight change - the ban on leaving the house at night was removed from additional restrictions.

"I studied the Bible, met people who were also interested, and told them about my hope," said the believer, 86, addressing the appeals panel with his last plea. "This is what I did until April 2017 [before the liquidation of Jehovah's Witnesses' legal entities]. I continued to do the same thing later. What has changed? What is my crime?" Yuskov believes that the court baselessly equated his peaceful religious activities with participation in extremist activities and involvement in them (parts 1.1 and 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

Despite appeals by human rights organizations and ECHR rulings, criminal prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses, including the elderly, continues in Russia. When published, 13 believers aged 80 and over were prosecuted for their faith.

Yuskov's case in Novocheboksarsk

Case History
In November 2020, pensioner Yuriy Yuskov’s apartment was searched within the framework of the case of three believers from Cheboksary. Law enforcement officers seized electronic devices, personal records and photographs from the elderly man. After interrogation, he was released. The security forces returned with a second search in May 2023. At that time the believer was already 85 years old. The man was placed under recognizance not to leave. FSB accused Yuskov of participation in the activities of an extremist organization and involving others in it for talking about his peaceful beliefs. In January 2024, the case went to court, and two months later a sentence was passed - 5 years suspended with a four-year probation period, and a year and four months of restriction of freedom. In May 2024, the Court of Appeal upheld this decision, slightly changing the additional restrictions.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Chuvashia
Locality:
Novocheboksarsk
Suspected of:
"carried out preaching activities, expressed in conducting conversations and teaching religious doctrine"
Court case number:
12307970001000016
Initiated:
May 4, 2023
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigating:
Federal Security Service of Russia in the Chuvash Republic
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1.1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-53/2024
Court of First Instance:
Новочебоксарский городской суд Чувашской Республики
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Александр Зубов
Case History