Gevorkyan case in Nizhny Novgorod

Case History

In the summer of 2019, Gevorg Gevorgyan, a resident of Nizhny Novgorod, was searched and interrogated and was named as a witness in the case of Malyanov and four other believers. After 2.5 years, his criminal case was separated into a separate proceeding. Gevorkyan was accused of extremism only because of his religion. In August 2021, he was placed on recognizance not to leave. In December 2021, the case went to court. At the first court hearing, the lawyer found a new document arbitrarily added to the case file. The judge returned the case to the prosecutor. In July 2022, a retrial of the case by another judge began. In January 2023, he sentenced Gevorgyan to 6 years probation. The appellate court upheld the verdict.

  • #
    July 17, 2019

    At about 6 a.m., police officers come to search Gevorg Gevorgyan's home. In addition to him, his wife and 86-year-old relative are in the apartment. Law enforcement officers seize electronic devices and documents from the Gevorgyan spouses. In the evening, police officers come again and seize the system unit.

  • #
    July 18, 2019

    At 9 a.m., police officers, acting rudely, detained Gevorgyan at his workplace and took him for interrogation, where he was held for 10 hours. From the circumstances of the interrogation, the believer concludes that a listening device was installed in his apartment.

  • #
    August 26, 2021

    A written undertaking not to leave is taken from Gevorgyan.

  • #
    November 12, 2021

    The head of the investigation team, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Nizhny Novgorod Region, Marina Korzunova, from the criminal case against Malyanov and others in Nizhny Novgorod , singles out the case against Gevorg Gevorgyan in a separate proceeding. The believer is suspected of organizing the activities of an extremist community (Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

  • #
    November 24, 2021

    Investigator Marina Korzunova brings in 50-year-old Gevorg Gevorgyan as an accused. He is charged with "conducting a collective religious service containing an interpretation of the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses."

  • #
    December 24, 2021

    The case goes to the Avtozavodsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod. It will be considered by judge Yevgeny Terekhov.

  • #
    January 26, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    At the request of the defense, Judge Yevgeny Terekhov returns the materials of the criminal case to the prosecutor to eliminate significant violations - the investigator, without notifying the defendant and his defense counsel, added new information to the case file. The added 6 pages contain the protocol of the interrogation of the witness by the prosecution I. V. Gorshkov, who is an operative of the investigation team.

  • #
    July 14, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The case is re-submitted to the Avtozavodsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod and appointed to Judge Maxim Sirotkin.

  • #
    August 18, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The prosecutor reads out the indictment. Judge Maxim Sirotkin gives Gevorg Gevorgyan the opportunity to express his attitude to the charges. Gevorgyan declares that all the accusations against him are far-fetched and he never had malicious intent and extremist motives. The believer says: "I believed that my faith, words and actions were protected by the Constitution of the Russian Federation."

    Two witnesses are being questioned to answer questions about the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses until 2017.

  • #
    September 6, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    About 25 people come to the hearing. Witnesses for the prosecution do not appear in court. The defense reads out a motion to return the case to the prosecutor in connection with the violations found in the indictment.

  • #
    September 22, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The judge rejects the defense's request to return the case to the investigating authorities due to the "insignificance" of the error. The testimony of prosecution witnesses shall be read out. The court decides not to disclose the testimony of the expert Fyodor Dorofeev, who drew up an opinion on the examined volumes of the case. He will be questioned at the next court hearing.

  • #
    October 10, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Expert Fyodor Dorofeev is being interrogated. It answers questions about the beliefs, lifestyle, behavior, and beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    The Court shall consider all volumes of the case. The prosecutor briefly voices some documents from the case materials, including the characteristics of Gevorg Gevorgyan from his place of work and from his neighbors.

  • #
    October 25, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Interrogation of the defendant. He tells us that the Christian congregation existed in the first century and that the modern congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses is fully consistent with his model.

  • #
    December 13, 2022 Prosecutor requested punishment Closing arguments for the defense

    The prosecutor requests for a sentence of 8 years in a general regime colony, restriction of freedom for 1 year and 6 months (not to leave the municipality in which he will live after serving his sentence, not to change his place of residence and work without the consent of a specialized body, to appear in a specialized body for registration); deprivation of the right to engage in educational and educational activities for a period of 8 years.

    The lawyer in his speech refutes the accusation of the prosecutor, referring to the lack of evidence.

    About 20 people come to the courthouse to support Gevorkyan, some have come a long way, having arrived at the hearing from Khabarovsk.

  • #
    January 17, 2023 Final statement First Instance Sentence

    "I didn't do or even wish anything bad to anyone. I just wanted to worship God," the believer says in his last word.

  • #
    March 21, 2023