Valeriy and Irina Schitz at the court building. June 2024

Unjust Verdicts

Court Fined Valeriy Schitz From Lesosibirsk 600,000 Rubles. This Is Already the 14th Sentence in the Region for Faith in Jehovah God

Krasnoyarsk Territory

On June 24, 2024, Yevgeniy Rafalskiy, judge of the Lesosibirsk City Court, found Valeriy Schitz guilty of extremism. The believer, 58, whose family was repressed on ethnic grounds in the USSR, was sentenced to a large fine.

The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Schitz in November 2021. He was accused of organizing the activity of an extremist organization. The evidence was based on hidden recordings of meetings for worship, in which Valeriy discusses Bible thoughts and says a prayer.

The homes of Schitz and several of his fellow believers were searched. They placed the believer under a recognizance agreement. In March 2023, after almost 1.5 years of investigation, the case went to court. At the hearing, two secret witnesses testified personally to the judge in a separate room. One of them stated that he did not know Valeriy Schitz and had never attended a meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses in Lesosibirsk. The defense noted that their testimonies were identical to those of secret witnesses in similar cases in the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

At the request of the state prosecutor, the court read out a copy of the verdict against Andrey Stupnikov, whose case has nothing to do with the case of Valeriy Schitz.

A total of 31 Jehovah's Witnesses in the Krasnoyarsk Territory have faced criminal prosecution for their faith, and sentences in 13 cases have already entered into force.

The Case of Schitz in Lesosibirsk

Case History
In November 2021, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Valeriy Schitz, a resident of Lesosibirsk. In the past, his family faced repression on ethnic grounds, and now he has been prosecuted on religious grounds. The investigation equated prayers and discussing the Bible with friends with organizing the activity of an extremist organization. After a search and interrogation, Schitz was released and later placed under a recognizance agreement. In March 2023, the case went to court. In June 2024, the believer was sentenced to a fine of 600,000 rubles.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Krasnoyarsk Territory
Locality:
Lesosibirsk
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, "being in an unidentified place on the territory of the city of Lesosibirsk ... using uninstalled electronic devices... organized and conducted a meeting of an unknown number of adherents of the LRO "Jehovah's Witnesses in Lesosibirsk" through online broadcasts
Court case number:
12102040012000057
Initiated:
November 19, 2021
Current case stage:
verdict did not take effect
Investigating:
SO in Lesosibirsk, the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Khakassia
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-173/2023
Court of First Instance:
Лесосибирский городской суд Красноярского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Евгений Рафальский
Case History