Updated: May 28, 2024
Name: Olopova Sona Andranikovna
Date of Birth: April 18, 1987
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2)
Current restrictions: forced labor
Sentence: punishment in the form of 2 years of imprisonment, punishment in the form of imprisonment shall be replaced by forced labor for a term of 2 years with serving in a correctional center of the penal system, with restriction of liberty for a period of 6 months

Biography

In May 2023, Sona Olopova planned to visit her grandmother in Armenia, whom she had not seen for more than 20 years. But shortly before the trip, her plans were disrupted: law enforcement officers invaded her house with a search. As a result, the woman became a defendant in a criminal case for her belief in Jehovah God.

Sona was born in April 1987 in the city of Charentsavan (Armenia). She has two elder sisters. Their mother worked as a nurse all her life, and their father worked as a dairy foreman at a factory, and also worked as a finisher. Now the parents are retired.

As a child, Sona loved singing, dancing and spending time with friends. When she was 10, the family moved to Russia, to the city of Chapayevsk (Samara region).

After school, Sona worked in trade. Later, she mastered several professions in the field of beauty and combined the work of a merchandiser with the services of a hairstylist, make-up artist, as well as a master in the design of eyebrows and eyelashes. In addition, recently she has been working as a manicurist.

Sona first heard about Bible teachings from her mother when she was a child. After learning about God's promises and how Bible prophecies were fulfilled, she became interested in the Bible. She was convinced of the practicality of the advice from this ancient book and decided to take the Christian path.

With her future husband, Anatoliy, Sona was familiar from her teenage years. They started dating in 2008 and got married in 2009. Sona moved to live with Anatoliy in Tolyatti. Her husband shares her views on life. Sona and Anatoliy value their relationship and strengthen family ties by spending a lot of time together: they walk, read, watch movies and like to go hiking with friends.

The search came as a surprise to Sona, and she and her husband experienced stress. During this difficult time, the spouses are helped by the support of friends and family.

Case History

In May 2023, in Tolyatti, officers of the Investigative Committee and the FSB broke into the homes of at least three families of believers, including that of Sona Olopova; a criminal case was initiated against her for her faith. After interrogation, she was made to sign a recognizance agreement. At the end of July 2023, the case went to court. There was a secret witness in the case who said that the meetings for worship were held without signs of extremism and were not related to the activities of any legal entity. The prosecutor requested the court to sentence the believer to 4 years in a penal colony. In January 2024, she was sentenced to 2 years of forced labor. A court of appeal in April 2024 upheld this decision.