Galina Komissarova

Unjust Verdicts

Court Issued a Guilty Verdict Against a Pensioner From Tolyatti. She Received a 2-Year Suspended Sentence for Talking About the Bible Via Video Link

Samara Region

On July 8, 2024, Yelena Laskina, judge of the Tsentralniy District Court of Tolyatti, completed considering the case of Galina Komissarova, 63, finding her guilty of extremism for discussing the Bible with friends. The believer does not agree with the verdict and can appeal it.

The criminal case was initiated in September 2023. The believer was accused of participating in the activity of an extremist organization. Due to the stress, Galina ended up in hospital with a hypertensive crisis. She said: "My blood pressure increased every time I came home after the interrogation or started examining the materials of my criminal case... The accusations caused me pain because all the listed 'actions' are against my nature." Investigator Sysoyeva forced the believer to appear for interrogation, ignoring complaints of poor health and never called an ambulance for her.

The investigation lasted 7 weeks, after which the case went to court. Witnesses for prosecution, including a secret one, spoke positively of Komissarova and reported that they had not heard anything from her that can be viewed as extremism. The prosecutor requested 4 years in a penal colony for the believer.

As "evidence" of extremist statements, the prosecution presented to the court a religious expert study of video recordings of meetings for worship in which Galina participated, according to the investigation. As the defense emphasized, the expert study was carried out by specialist Lenar Galiyev, who does not have the specialized education and therefore, the necessary qualifications. "The expert draws conclusions based only on his assumptions, without consulting the works of scholars who have devoted decades to the study of the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses," Galina Komissarova emphasized. She continued: "The questions posed to the experts contained clues as to who to blame and for what... Doesn't this prompt us to question the objectivity of their conclusions?"

Galina Komissarova was widowed when her children were 10 and 12, and she had to raise them alone. She worked as a kindergarten teacher for many years. The children's parents, her neighbors and former colleagues described her positively in court.

Despite all the difficulties, Galina does not lose heart: "Fellow believers write me a lot of warm words, send me encouraging verses and assure me of their love. They say they are worried, they pray for me, and they are even proud of me."

The Case of Komissarova in Tolyatti

Case History
One early morning of September 2023, Galina Komissarova, a resident of Tolyatti, was woken up by a loud knock on the door. Officers of the Investigative Committee, who came to search her home, said that a criminal case had been initiated against her for participating in meetings for worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Following the search, Komissarova was taken for interrogation, after which she was made to sign a recognizance agreement. Due to the stress she experienced, Galina was hospitalized with a hypertensive crisis. In October 2023, the case went to court. The prosecutor requested 4 years in a penal colony. The court gave the pensioner a 2-year suspended sentence.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Samara Region
Suspected of:
"with the use of conspiracy measures, including the use of a video communication application ... took an active part in the form of collective religious worship, consisting of a consistent study and discussion of the religious literature of Jehovah's Witnesses" (from the decision to bring as an accused)
Court case number:
September 7, 2023
Current case stage:
verdict did not take effect
Central Interdistrict Investigation Department of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Samara Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-90/2024 (1-662/2023)
Court of First Instance:
Центральный районный суд г. Тольятти
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Елена Ласкина
Case History