Updated: April 16, 2024
Name: Chekolaev Kirill Vasilyevich
Date of Birth: June 4, 2004
Current status: accused
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Time spent in prison: 2 day in a temporary detention facility, 129 day in a pre-trial detention
Current restrictions: Detention center
Currently held in: Detention Center No.1 for Primorye Territory
Address for correspondence: Chekolaev Kirill Vasilyevich, born 2004, SIZO No.1 for Primorye Territory, Partizansky prospekt, 28B, Vladivostok, Primorye Territory, Russia, 690106

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In December 2023, Kirill Chekolayev, 19, from Vladivostok became a defendant in a criminal case for his belief in Jehovah God and ended up in a pre-trial detention center. His college studies were interrupted and he lost his job.

Kirill was born in June 2004 in Vladivostok. He is the only child in the family. Kirill's mother is a housekeeper. The father left the family, but tries to support his son by providing the necessary assistance.

After school, Kirill entered college with a degree in construction and operation of buildings and structures. At the time of his arrest, he was writing his thesis and working part-time as a hotel administrator, supporting the family financially.

Kirill's mother was the first in the family to study the Bible and live by its standards. Jehovah's Witnesses helped her find answers to her questions in this book. The woman recalls: "The truth immediately touched my heart and prompted me to change my lifestyle. I learned hard work and honesty." From childhood she tried to instill in her son the love of God. Having received convincing evidence of the existence of the Creator, young Kirill consciously decided to take the Christian path. Due to his peaceful religious beliefs, the young man secured the opportunity to do alternative civilian service, which was supposed to begin in the fall of 2024.

As a child, Kirill was fond of drawing and computers. With age, his hobbies have changed—in his free time he likes to play volleyball, basketball and work out in the gym.

The criminal prosecution of Kirill affected the health of all members of his family. Before his arrest, he lived with his mother and grandmother, who is disabled after four strokes. During the search, Kirill's mother had an attack of hypertension and had to call an ambulance. The grandmother also could not recover for a long time and she repeatedly needed the help of doctors.

Kirill's relatives and friends do not understand why this peace-loving young man is being persecuted and why he was arrested. They worry about his future.

Case History

In Vladivostok, three of Jehovah’s Witnesses were detained and placed in a temporary detention facility for two days after searches in March 2023. Yegor Pogrebnyak was released and put under house arrest, and Yuriy Byche and Sergey Novoselov were sent to a pre-trial detention center. A criminal case has been initiated against the believers under an extremist article. Later, Tatyana Kazakova, Marina Roslova, Alina Tkachenko, Anastasiya Dyldina and Yelena Romanova became defendants in the case. In December, after new searches, Kirill Chekolayev was arrested and placed in a pre-trial detention center. At the end of February 2024, Yuriy Byche and Sergey Novoselov were released from the pre-trial detention center under a prohibition on certain actions.