Valery Maletskov with his wife and Marina Chaplykina before their conviction, Novosibirsk, December 2023 (Credit:

RUSSIA: 6 and 4 years in prison for a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses

127 Jehovah’s Witnesses are currently serving prison terms for practicing their faith in private

By Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers

The European Times News The European Times (27.12.2023) – On 18 December 2023, the judge of the Novosibirsk District Court, Oleg Karpets, sentenced Marina Chaplykina to 4 years in prison, and Valeriy Maletskov to 6 years in prison for organizing religious meetings in private homes. They were taken into custody in the courtroom. They do not admit their guilt and can appeal the verdict.

In April 2019, FSB investigator Selyunin opened a criminal case against them, accusing them of extremism. On the same day, searches were carried out at a total of 12 addresses. In one case, the planting of banned literature was seen. Valeriy Maletskov, who lives with his wife and a young child, was invaded by the armed security forces, breaking down the front door. He was accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization, and Marina Chaplykina was accused of participating in it and financing it. The man was placed under house arrest, and the woman was placed under recognizance agreement.

After three years of investigation, the case was submitted to the Novosibirsk District Court. The accusation was based on recordings of conversations with believers made by a secret witness “Ivan”, who attended services of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The couple was among 8 Jehovah’s Witnesses persecuted for their faith in the Novosibirsk region. Aleksandr Seredkin, whose case was divided into separate proceedings from the case of Maletskov and Chaplykina, is serving 6 years in a penal colony. People belonging to other faiths are also serving long prison terms for the practice of their faith: 6 Protestants – 6 Muslims (Said Nursi followers) – 5 Muslims (Faizrakhman) – 2 Greek Catholic – Orthodox (2) – Shaman (1)

Further reading about FORB in Russia on HRWF website