RUSSIA: Freedom of religion or belief: Special bimonthly digest (16-31.07.2022)
29.07.2022 – In the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Court is considering the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Sova Center – In July 2022, it became known that the Kezhemsky District Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory was considering the case of Ildar Urazbakhtin, a Jehovah’s Witness from Kodinsk. He is accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization (Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code).
29.07.2022 – Case of Jehovah’s Witness Gevorkyan revisited in Court
Sova Center – On July 14, 2022, the Avtozavodsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod received the case of Jehovah’s Witness Gevorg Gevorkyan, who is accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization (Part 1, Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code).
The case was initiated in November 2021, it was separated from another case of the Nizhny Novgorod Jehovah’s Witnesses. Already in December, the case went to court, but in January it was returned to the prosecutor. This was due to the fact that new materials were added to the case without notifying the defendant and the lawyer. Gevorgyan is under house arrest.
28.07.2022 – Verdict approved for Jehovah’s Witness Ilyinykh
Sova Center – On July 28, 2022, the Primorsky Regional Court upheld the verdict against Jehovah’s Witness Vitaly Ilyinykh. On April 15, the Ussuriysk District Court sentenced him to two and a half years of suspended liberty under Part 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code (participation in the activities of an extremist organization).
27.07.2022 – Court in Kemerovo upholds sentence for Jehovah’s Witness
Sova Center – On July 26, 2022, the Kemerovo Regional Court upheld the sentence against Jehovah’s Witness Andrey Vlasov under Part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code (organization of the activities of an extremist organization).In May, the Central District Court of Prokopyevsk sentenced Vlasov to seven years in prison, serving in a penal colony. Vlasov has a disability group II, he cannot do without outside help.
26.07.2022 – The court imposed a fine of half a million rubles on a Jehovah’s Witness from the Chelyabinsk Region
Sova Center – On July 26, 2022, the Snezhinsky City Court of the Chelyabinsk Region found Jehovah’s Witness Ilya Olenin guilty under Part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code (organization of the activities of an extremist organization) and fined him 500 thousand rubles. Earlier, the prosecutor asked to sentence Olenin to the same punishment.According to investigators, 45-year-old Olenin was an elder and, “supervising the activities of meetings of local religious organizations in the Chelyabinsk region in the period from September 2017 to November 2020, he took active steps aimed at organizing the continuation of the illegal activities of a religious organization banned by the court, including a local religious organization.
26.07.2022 – In the Chelyabinsk Region, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses Ilya Olenin was fined by a Court for discussing the Bible among friends.
Link to full text in Russian: https://www.jw-russia.org/news/2022/07/261420.html
On July 26, 2022, Judge Oleg Klementyev of the Snezhinskiy City Court of the Chelyabinsk Region found one of Jehovah’s Witnesses Ilya Olenin guilty of organizing the activities of an extremist organization and imposed a fine of 500,000 rubles on him. The believer insists on his complete innocence.
25.07.2022 – Mass searches and interrogations of believers took place in the Yaroslavl Region
Link to full text in Russian: https://www.jw-russia.org/news/2022/07/250918.html
On the morning of July 13, 2022, searches were carried out in Rybinsk at 16 addresses where Jehovah’s Witnesses live; three families were also searched at their country-house. There were no arrests. Criminal cases have been initiated.
The raid was initiated by the Russian Investigative Committee for the Yaroslavl region. Special events were held with the participation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Guard officers, as well as detectives of the Federal Security Service of Russia in the Yaroslavl Region A. Ivanenko, V. Moskalev and D. Kovalenko. The basis was the decision of the Rybinsk City Court of July 12, 2022.
25.07.2022 – Russians inflict the most damage upon Moscow chruch in Ukraine
Link to full text in Russian: https://cutt.ly/gZmqnv5
In five months of the full-fledged attack, Russian invaders have damaged no fewer than 183 religious buildings in Ukraine. This was reported by the press service of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy in a press release given to Ukrinform.
“From 24 February through 23 July 2022, at least 183 religious buildings in no fewer than 14 oblasts of Ukraine were completely destroyed or damaged to various extents as the result of the armed assault by the Russian Federation: churches, mosques, synagogues, and educational and administrative buildings of religious communities of Ukraine. Five of the 183 buildings damaged as the result of the attack of the R.F. were Islamic, 5 were Jewish, and the remaining 173 were Christian,” the report says.
25.07.2022 – Izberbash again opened a criminal case on involvement in “Nurcular”
Sova Center – On July 22, 2022, the investigative department of the Russian Investigative Committee for the Republic of Dagestan announced the initiation of a criminal case under Part 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code (participation in the activities of an extremist organization) in relation to a 32-year-old resident of the city of Izberbash, who is suspected of involvement in the activities of the banned religious association Nurcular.According to investigators, from 2015 to April 2017, a resident of Izberbash joined the association and took part in meetings to study its “ideological sources”.
21.07.2022 – Against the followers of ‘Allya Ayat’ in Novosibirsk, a case was initiated under Art. 282.2 CC
Sova Center On July 21, 2022, the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Novosibirsk Region announced the initiation of a criminal case under CC. 1 and 2 Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code (organization of the activities of an extremist organization and participation in it) in relation to four residents of Novosibirsk.The police report identifying a resident of the Oktyabrsky district of the city, who, according to them, organized a gathering place for the followers of the Alla Ayat (Elle Ayat) religious group, as well as three residents of the region, “one of whom also performed the coordinating functions of the group,” and the other two were active participants. All the defendants in the case were given a preventive measure in the form of a ban on certain actions.
15.07.2022 – An appeal in Seversk replaced the prison term of Andrey Ledyaykin with a suspended sentence
Link to full text in Russian : https://www.jw-russia.org/news/2022/07/151002.html
On July 14, 2022, a panel of judges of the Tomsk Regional Court mitigated the sentence of one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Andrey Ledyaykin, 33, replacing the sentence of 2 years and 2 months in prison with a suspended sentence of the same term.
In July 2020, FSB and Investigative Committee officers, accompanied by two OMON fighters, arrived at Andrey Ledyaikin’s place of work, the administration of Seversk, to pick him up for a search of his home.