Case of Ivanov and Others in Astrakhan

Case History

In June 2020, the investigation in Astrakhan opened a criminal case against Sergey Klikunov, Rustam Diarov, Yevgeniy Ivanov and his wife, Olga under under an article against extremism. A series of searches took place the next day. After that, the four believers were placed in custody. After 3 days, Olga Ivanova was transferred to house arrest. From June 2021, the case against the believers was heard in court. The court sentenced Yevgeniy, Sergey and Rustam to 8 years in a penal colony, and Olga to 3.5 years a penal colony. The court of appeal upheld this decision in February 2022, and 10 months later, the court of cassation even toughened the punishment, adding a ban on the believers from leaving Astrakhan after serving their sentence. In June 2024, Olga Ivanova was released.

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    June 8, 2020

    Senior Investigator for Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Astrakhan Region N. P. Banko initiates a criminal case against Sergey Klikunov, Rustam Diarov, Yevgeniy Ivanov and his wife, Olga. Klikunov, Diarov and Ivanov are charged under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of extremist activities). Olga Ivanova is charged under Part 2 of Article 282.2 (participation in extremist activities).

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    June 9, 2020 Search

    In the morning, a series of searches were carried out in Astrakhan in 27 families of local Jehovah's Witnesses. More than a hundred security officials are involved in the searches. Sergey Klikunov, 45, Rustam Diarov, 46, Yevgeny Ivanov, 43, and his wife, Olga Ivanova, 37, were detained for three days. They are placed in a temporary detention facility.

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    June 11, 2020

    Natalia Senchenko and Olga Ivanova, judges of the Kirovsky District Court of Astrakhan, send Sergey Klikunov, Rustam Diarov and Yevgeniy Ivanov to the pre-trial detention center for 2 months. All three have families. Yevgeny Ivanov's wife, Olga, is put under house arrest by a judge of the same court, Nadezhda Melikhova, for 2 months.

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    June 12, 2020
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    June 17, 2020

    It becomes known that Sergey Klikunov, Rustam Diarov and Yevgeny Ivanov were transferred to Detention Center No. 2 in the Astrakhan Region.

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    July 2, 2020

    Sergey Klikunov, Rustam Diarov and Yevgeny Ivanov are transferred to another pre-trial detention center - SIZO-1 in the Astrakhan region.

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    August 27, 2020

    The Astrakhan Court of Appeal, chaired by Judge Alexei Zhogin, reverses the decision of the Trusovsky District Court of June 11, 2020 to recognize as lawful the search in B.V.'s home, which took place on June 9, and decides to transfer the case materials for a new trial to the same court, but with a different composition. The judge found that the court had violated B.V.'s constitutional rights to participate in the hearing and express his position, the adversarial principle of the parties and other requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under similar circumstances, searches were carried out that day in 27 families of local believers.

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    May 28, 2021

    N. P. Banko, Investigator for Particularly Important Cases of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Astrakhan Region, initiates a criminal case against 55-year-old Anna Safronova under Part 2 of Article 282.2 and Part 1 of Article 282.3. Among other things, she is charged with participating in divine services together with Yevgeny Ivanov and other believers.

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    June 2, 2021

    From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Anna Safronova and her 81-year-old mother are searched: the security forces even check the inspection hatches in the bathroom, as well as air ducts. A year ago, the woman was already searched with the seizure of all electronic devices. This time, electronic equipment is again seized from her, including a laptop that was recently returned after the first search.

    Anna is taken to the building of the Investigative Committee, and then placed in a temporary detention facility in the city of Astrakhan. It is expected that on June 3 the court will determine a measure of restraint for the believer.

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    June 4, 2021

    The preventive measure for Rustam Diarov, Sergey Klikunov, Yevgeniy and Olga Ivanov is extended until November 30, 2021.

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    June 10, 2021

    In the Trusovsky District Court of Astrakhan, hearings on the criminal case against believers begin. Judge Elena Zakharova rejects the petition of the 3 accused to exclude evidence and to refuse the appointed lawyers.

    The court satisfies the defendants' requests to familiarize themselves with the case materials, which they did not have time to familiarize themselves with during the preliminary investigation due to time limitations.

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    June 21, 2021

    The judge denies Diarov and Klikunov a written request to refuse their appointed lawyers, but grants a similar request by Ivanov. Now Yevgeny Ivanov has a lawyer by agreement. The prosecutor reads out the indictment.

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    July 1, 2021

    The court satisfies the motions to refuse the appointed lawyers, which Rustam Diarov and Sergey Klikunov have filed for the third time.

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    July 28, 2021

    A new judge, Alexei Semin, is starting to consider the case. He provides Diarov, Klikunov and Ivanova with appointed lawyers. The prosecutor reads out the indictment. The believers express their attitude to the accusation - they do not admit guilt in extremism, claiming that they simply peacefully professed their religious beliefs, without harming anyone and actually not violating any laws of the state and society. The judge interrupts Olga Ivanova and does not allow her to speak, arguing that everything is in the case file.

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    September 29, 2021

    The prosecutor refuses to question 21 prosecution witnesses.

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    October 6, 2021

    11 defense witnesses are being questioned, most of whom are not Jehovah's Witnesses: colleagues, employer, neighbors, and relatives. A former neighbor of Yevgeny Ivanov describes him as follows: "A very good man, best friend, he still has the keys to my house, I trust him."

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    October 7, 2021

    The questioning of defence witnesses is ongoing. A former client, for whom Ivanov made repairs, says that Yevgeny "has golden hands, 6 years have passed - there are no flaws in the work."

    The defense challenges the judge in connection with the violation of the principle of adversarial parties. The court rejects it.

    The court, at the request of the defense, attaches to the case the decisions of the ECHR, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding the rights of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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    October 22, 2021 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The prosecutor of the Trusovsky district of Astrakhan, I. D. Sorokina, asks the court to sentence the believers to: Rustam Diarov, Sergey Klikunov and Yevgeniy Ivanov under Part 1 of Article 282.2 and Part 1 of Article 282.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to 8 years and 6 months of imprisonment in a general regime colony with deprivation of the right to lead and participate in the work of public organizations for a term of 5 years and with restriction of liberty for 1 year; Olga Ivanova under Part 2 of Article 282.2. of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - 4 years of imprisonment in a general regime colony with deprivation of the right to lead and participate in the work of public organizations for a term of 3 years and with restriction of liberty for 1 year.

    The defendants make their final statements.

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    October 25, 2021
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    October 30, 2021

    Olga Ivanova is held in pre-trial detention center No. 2 in the city of Narimanov, Astrakhan region. She can receive letters of support. In the first 5 days from the moment of her arrest, Olga has already received 38 letters.

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    November 1, 2021

    In the pre-trial detention center, Olga is visited by her mother.

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    March 3, 2022 Court of Appeal

    The Astrakhan Regional Court upholds the harsh sentence of 4 believers.

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    March 4, 2022
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    March 11, 2022

    Yevgeny Ivanov and Sergey Klikunov leave SIZO-1 of Astrakhan, Olga Ivanova leaves SIZO-2 of Narimanov. They are transferred to one of the pre-trial detention centers of the Republic of Dagestan. The exact whereabouts of the believers are being clarified.

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    March 21, 2022

    Rustam Diarov is being transferred to SIZO-1 in Makhachkala, where other convicts in the case were previously transferred: Yevgeny and Olga Ivanov and Sergey Klikunov. Apparently, staying in this institution is temporary for believers.

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    April 29, 2022

    It becomes known that Ivanov Evgeny, Ivanova Olga, Klikunov Sergey and Diarov Rustam were transferred from pre-trial detention center No. 1 in Makhachkala to pre-trial detention center No. 1 in Astrakhan for further transfer to the place of serving their sentence.

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    May 3, 2022

    It becomes known that convicted believers are moved to the place of serving their sentences. Olga Ivanova was sent to the Stavropol Territory, and Sergey Klikunov, Rustam Diarov and Yevgeny Ivanov were sent to the Republic of Tatarstan.

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    May 23, 2022 Life in prison

    It becomes known that Yevgeny Ivanov and Rustam Diarov arrived at the place of serving their sentence - Correctional colony No. 4 in the Republic of Tatarstan, located in the city of Nizhnekamsk, 1500 km from home. Upon arrival, believers are not given personal belongings.

    Sergey Klikunov is still on his way to the same institution.

    Yevgeny Ivanov's wife, Olga, sentenced to 3.5 years, is in the process of being moved to Correctional Colony No. 7 in the Stavropol Territory in the city of Zelenokumsk.

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    May 27, 2022 Life in prison

    Olga Ivanova is taken to the place where she is serving her sentence for her faith - to the women's correctional colony No. 7 in Zelenokumsk (Stavropol Territory). For almost 3 months of transport, the believer had to travel about 900 km.

    Olga can receive letters of support.

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    May 30, 2022 Life in prison

    The lawyer visits Yevgeniy Ivanov, Rustam Diarov and Sergey Klikunov in Correctional Colony No. 4 (Nizhnekamsk), where three believers are serving their sentences. Klikunov had recently been taken there after Ivanov and Diarov.

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    August 18, 2022 Life in prison

    The lawyer visits Olga Ivanova in the penal colony No. 7 of Zelenokumsk. The believer is kept in a new barracks, which is located on the mountain, so there are frequent interruptions in water. Olga conscientiously works in the cutting shop, responsibly treating the work performed. Inmates treat Ivanova with respect, some try not to use obscene language with her and not to speak in a raised voice.

    After the inspection of the colony by the public monitoring commission, the Human Rights Ombudsman for the Stavropol Territory and the prosecutor's office, interruptions in the supply of water to the barracks decreased, and there were fewer violations in the work schedule. Olga was given all the letters and the Bible. Now she receives 20-40 letters a week and some do not even have time to read and answer.

    The believer worries that she does not have the opportunity to correspond with her husband, who is being held in a Tatarstan colony. She never received a response to the letter sent 2 months ago. Recently, Ivanova's mother came to Ivanova on a long-term date, which greatly supported Olga.

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    December 22, 2022
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    April 5, 2023 Transfer of a prisoner Life in prison

    Yevgeniy Ivanov, Rustam Diarov and Sergey Klikunov are transferred to a colony located in Almetyevsk (Republic of Tatarstan). Some personal belongings are confiscated from believers, but they promise to return them soon. They can write letters.

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    August 10, 2023 Life in prison Letters

    Olga Ivanova is being held in a barracks where about 100 other convicts are being held. She is respected by other prisoners: they note her hard work and peace-loving nature. The believer works in a cutting shop.

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    August 11, 2023 Parole Life in prison

    The Sovetsky District Court of the Stavropol Territory, chaired by Judge Kirill Valikov, refuses Olga Ivanova's application for parole. The believer should be released in June 2024.

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    August 18, 2023 Life in prison

    Rustam Diarov, Sergey Klikunov and Evgeny Ivanov are in different detachments, working in the boiler room. Klikunov and Diarov do not complain about their health. Ivanov needs to see several doctors who are not in the colony. Now he is waiting for the opportunity to visit the hospital for this. The emotional state of all three is good.

    Believers have the opportunity to read the Bible in different translations.

    They receive many letters of support from fellow believers, for which they are very grateful.

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    March 13, 2024 Life in prison Letters

    Diarov, Klikunov and Ivanov continue to work in the boiler room. They are held in sections with about 35 people. The attitude of the cellmates towards them is calm. Believers receive parcels and parcels regularly. They draw support from letters. Sergey Klikunov is grateful for the fiction that is sent to him.

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    June 11, 2024 Release from penal colony Prosecution of several family members