Sergey Petrenko

Unjust Verdicts

A 4-Year Suspended Sentence for Faith in God. A Local Jehovah's Witness Sentenced in Gorno-Altaysk


On June 27, 2024, the court gave Sergey Petrenko, 45, a 4-year suspended sentence with a 3-year. Yelena Usoltseva, judge of the Mayminsky District Court, considered attending peaceful meetings for worship to be participating in the activity of an extremist organization.

The criminal prosecution of Petrenko began in January 2022, when his house was searched. In July of the same year, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiated a criminal case against the believer, separating the materials from the case of Aleksandr Kalistratov. Sergey Petrenko was accused of participating in the activity of a banned organization (Article 282.2(2) of the RF CrC) and was placed under a recognizance agreement. In December 2022, his management asked him to quit his job because he was being prosecuted, after which it became more difficult for him to provide for his family.

Petrenko's case was considered in court for 1.5 years. During this time, the judge was changed three times. At the hearings, witnesses for the prosecution stated that their testimonies in the interrogation protocols were distorted. Petrenko himself said in his final statement that, in his opinion, he was in the dock solely because he practises the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. He added: "People who are not Jehovah's Witnesses — my relatives, neighbors and colleagues — are perplexed that a decent and law-abiding citizen became a victim of a criminal prosecution."

The believer can appeal the court's decision.

The Case of Petrenko in Gorno-Altaysk

Case History
At the end of July 2022, the investigation initiated a criminal case against Sergey Petrenko, a resident of Gorno-Altaysk. The materials were separated from the case against another believer, Aleksandr Kalistratov. In December 2022, the case went to court and was then transferred three times to new judges for retrial. After 1.5 years of hearings, the court gave Petrenko a 4-year suspended sentence with a 3-year probation.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Court case number:
July 28, 2022
Current case stage:
verdict did not take effect
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-8/2024 (1-124/2023; 1-452/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Майминский районный суд Республики Алтай
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Елена Усольцева
Case History