Case of Ohanyan in Vlasikha

Case History

In June 2020, searches were carried out in 5 homes of local Jehovah’s Witnesses in the village of Vlasikha. One of the believers, artist and writer Sergey Ohanyan, was detained. In May, investigator Yevgeny Dymchenko opened a criminal case against the believer under 3 articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: organization of the activities of an extremist organization, involvement of other persons in this activity and participation in it. Sergey spent 3 days behind bars, after which he was placed under house arrest, and 10 months later - on his own recognizance. In addition, Sergey had to undergo a psychiatric examination, during which he was pressured to be involuntarily hospitalized for refusing to answer questions about his attitude towards representatives of other religions. In October 2021, the investigation excluded Part 1.1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation from the charges.

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    May 28, 2020

    Investigator for especially important cases of the Main Investigation Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Moscow Region Yevgeny Dymchenko initiates a criminal case against Sergey Oganyan. He charges the believer with a crime under three articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: Part 1 of Article 282.2, Part 1.1, Article 282.2 and Part 2 of Article 282.2 (organization, involvement and participation in the activities of an extremist organization).

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    June 2, 2020

    In the village of Vlasikha near Moscow, searches are being conducted in five houses of local believers. The security forces take Sergey Oganyan to the Mytishchinskoye police station and preliminarily detain him for 48 hours. Two more women and one man are taken away for interrogation.

    Investigator Yevgeny Dymchenko charges Sergey Oganyan with committing crimes under parts 1, 1.1 and 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

    According to the investigation, Sergey participated in undermining the foundations of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation and the security of the state - "carried out deliberate actions of an organizational nature aimed at convening meetings, meetings and holding them." Ohanyan is also charged with "recruiting new members" to the organization. The resolution features Borhan Askar, whose real name law enforcement officers are hiding. According to the investigator, Sergey Oganyan persuaded this man to join the local religious organization (LRO) of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Odintsovo district.

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    June 3, 2020 Search

    Judge of the Babushkinsky District Court of Moscow, Evgenia Babinova, is considering the investigator's petition to detain Sergey Oganyan and recognizes this measure as legal. The term of Sergey's arrest has been extended to 72 hours from the moment of his detention.

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    June 5, 2020

    Judge Babinova is considering the investigator's request to place Sergey Oganyan in a pre-trial detention center. According to the investigator, being at large, Sergey can hide from the investigating authorities and the court, put pressure on the participants in the criminal process.

    The prosecutor asks the court to refuse the investigator and choose a measure of restraint against the believer in the form of house arrest at his place of residence, since his young daughter lives there.

    The judge chooses a measure of restraint for the accused in the form of house arrest for 1 month and 23 days, that is, until July 27, 2020. Sergey is forbidden to leave the home, communicate with witnesses in the case and use means of communication.

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    June 9, 2020 Search
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    July 24, 2020

    The Central Clinical Psychiatric Hospital (Moscow, 8 Marta Street) conducts a psychological and psychiatric examination of Sergey Oganyan's condition. He is asked questions not concerning his health, but his personal life, his religious beliefs, his attitude to the criminal case and to the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses. In addition to doctors, a man in civilian clothes is present at the examination. He is interested in how Ohanyan feels about the initiative of the Ministry of Justice to ban Jehovah's Witnesses, what he thinks about the Russian Orthodox Church and whether he held religious meetings at home. When a believer refuses to answer provocative questions, doctors exert psychological pressure on him by shouting and threatening to forcibly hospitalize him.

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    March 26, 2021

    Lieutenant Colonel of Justice A.V. Kovyazin, investigator for especially important cases of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee, makes a decision to replace Sergey Ohanyan's preventive measure with a recognizance not to leave and proper behavior. The believer spent almost 10 months under house arrest.

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    October 21, 2021

    It becomes known that Part 1.1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (involvement in the activities of an extremist organization) was excluded from the charge against Sergey Oganyan. Now he is charged with a crime under Parts 1 and 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - organizing the activities of an extremist organization and participating in it. It is noteworthy that Sergey has never been a member of organizations that were banned by the Supreme Court of Russia in April 2017, unreasonably recognizing them as extremist.