Updated: April 19, 2024
Name: Popov Igor Ivanovich
Date of Birth: September 6, 1987
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Time spent in prison: 1 day in a temporary detention facility, 871 day in a pre-trial detention
Current restrictions: Detention center
Sentence: punishment in the form of 6 years 4 months of imprisonment with serving a sentence in a general regime colony, with deprivation of the right to engage in organizational activities in public or religious associations, public or religious organizations for a term of 5 years, with restriction of liberty for a term of 1 year 2 months
Currently held in: Detention Centre No. 1 in Irkutsk Region
Address for correspondence: Popov Igor Ivanovich, born 1987, Detention Centre No. 1 in Irkutsk Region, ul. Barrikad, 63, Irkutsk, Russia, 664019

Letters of support can be sent by regular mail or through the «FSIN-letter system». To pay for service with the card of a foreign bank use Prisonmail.

Note: discussing topics related to criminal prosecution is not allowed in letters; languages other than Russian will not pass.

Biography

Igor Popov is one of the Irkutsk believers who ended up in jail after the raid by security forces in October 2021. After the searches, he learned that he was charged with a serious crime just because of talking about the Bible.

Igor was born in September 1987 in the village of Uzun-Agach (Kazakhstan) in a large family. His father died in 1998, and his mother had to raise 8 children on her own.

During his school years, Igor was fond of skiing and volleyball, participated in competitions. Later, he took up running, strength training, and playing the harmonica.

After school, Igor moved to Omsk, where he immediately got a job. He worked as a janitor, plumber, and was engaged in finishing work.

When Igor's parents became interested in the Bible and began to study this book in the early 1990s, they were happy to share new knowledge with their children: they talked about Bible teachings about the resurrection of the dead and a wonderful future. At the age of 18, Igor himself took up seriously studying the Bible and a year later embarked on the Christian path.

In the Omsk region, Igor met his future wife, Mangira. They got married in 2013. Igor's wife is a hairdresser. She is fond of drawing and sewing.

The persecution Igor faced was a blow to his entire family. Relatives, including those who do not share his beliefs, do not understand how such a meek and kind person was equated with criminals.

Case History

In October 2021, a series of searches took place in Irkutsk and the Irkutsk region, which were accompanied by pogroms and brutal beatings of peaceful believers. It turned out that Yaroslav Kalin, Sergey Kosteev, Nikolay Martynov, Mikhail Moysh, Aleksey Solnechny, Andrey Tolmachev, and Sergey Vasilyev are suspected of extremism for practicing the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). After searches and interrogations, the security forces detained seven men, and soon six of them were sent to a pre-trial detention center, and one was placed under house arrest. After 2 months, law enforcement officers conducted two more searches: in the village of Askiz (Republic of Khakassia) in the home of Denis Sarazhakov and in the city of Mezhdurechensk (Kemerovo region) with Igor Popov. Both of them were arrested, taken more than 1500 km to Irkutsk and placed in custody. In December 2022, the case of the believers went to court. In January 2024, the court sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment in a penal colony, from 3 to 7 years, satisfying the prosecutor’s request.