Igor Kasabov

Unjust Verdicts

A Court in Tambov Sentenced One of Jehovah's Witnesses, 68, to a Two-Year Suspended Sentence for Talking About the Bible

Tambov Region

On May 14, 2024, the consideration of the case of Igor Kasabov was completed in the Oktyabrsky District Court of Tambov. Judge Vladimir Chernov sentenced the believer to 2 years suspended with a 2-year probationary period. The investigation considered conversations with friends on biblical topics to be participation in the activities of an extremist organization.

The criminal prosecution exacerbated the already poor health of Kasabov and his wife. A few months before the search, which took place in April 2023, Igor suffered a heart attack, and his wife suffered a stroke. "During the interrogation, I faced serious pressure: the investigator, in order to obtain my confession, mentioned that my wife, a disabled person of group II, who cannot normally express her thoughts after a stroke, can also be brought to justice," the believer said.

The case was initiated by the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Tambov Region, it was led by Pavel Salnikov. Commenting on the charges, Igor Kasabov noted that the actions imputed to him are the usual peaceful practice of a Christian. He declared his innocence in his last plea: "I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses are dear to my heart. Yes, I attend meetings and love to discuss biblical thoughts and topics. I have nothing else to 'confess' to." Kasabov can appeal the court's decision.

This is the first conviction of a Jehovah's Witness for religious beliefs in the Tambov Region. The courts of this region are considering similar criminal cases against three other believers.

Case of Kasabov in Tambov

Case History
In April 2023, Igor Kasabov’s apartment was searched. The next day, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against him. A pensioner from Tambov was accused of participating in the activities of an extremist organization. In February 2024, the case went to court. In May of the same year, the court sentenced him to two years suspended.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Tambov Region
Suspected of:
"carried out active deliberate actions related to the continuation of the activities of the religious association of Jehovah's Witnesses on the territory of Tambov ... including through direct participation in ongoing events, conducting conversations in order to promote the activities of a banned organization" (from the decision to initiate a criminal case)
Court case number:
April 12, 2023
Current case stage:
verdict did not take effect
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Tambov Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Court of First Instance:
Октябрьский районный суд города Тамбова
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Владимир Чернов
Case History