Consequences of arson of the former building for worship in Prokhladny (June 2019)

Crimes Against Believers

In Kabardino-Balkaria, an empty hall for worship of Jehovah's Witnesses was set on fire


On the evening of June 2, 2019, in Prokhladnoye (Kabardino-Balkaria), attackers set fire to an empty building where Jehovah's Witnesses had previously held worship services. At one time, the building was built by local believers, but because of persecution it is not used.

After firefighters extinguished the flames, three sources of ignition were discovered. The CCTV camera was previously rendered unusable. The building was badly damaged. The police arrived at the scene, conducted an inspection with witnesses, and a report was drawn up.

In Prokhladny, a criminal trial under the article "extremism" against Arkadi Hakobyan, a peaceful believer from Prokhladny, who was unreasonably persecuted by the court for about three years, recently ended. All charges were dropped after an appeal against the wrongful conviction was filed.

Nevertheless, the actions of officials against Jehovah's Witnesses apparently fuel an atmosphere of religious hatred and enmity and push aggressive people to commit such acts of vandalism.

Update. It became known that on July 2, 2019, in Kabardino-Balkaria, in connection with the arson of an empty hall for worship of Jehovah's Witnesses, a criminal case was initiated under the article "Intentional destruction or damage to property" committed in a generally dangerous way (part 2 of article 167 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The case is being handled by the investigative department of the inter-municipal police department "Prokhladnensky".

Case of Akopyan in Prokhladny

Case History
In the late 1980s, Arkadya Hakobyan, his wife and three children fled ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan. More than 25 years later, as a peaceful elderly man, Arkadia became a victim of religious repression. In June 2016, a criminal case was opened against him for a public speech in which he allegedly humiliated the dignity of followers of other religions. In May 2017, hearings began in the Prokhladnensky District Court, during which it turned out that the testimony of witnesses underlying the case was false, and the expert’s opinion was replete with errors. The prosecutor demanded 3 years of probation for the believer. In December 2018, Judge Oleg Golovashko sentenced the believer to 120 hours of compulsory labor. In March 2019, the Supreme Court of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic overturned the conviction. Hakobyan was cleared of all charges.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Court case number:
June 11, 2016
Current case stage:
case dismissed
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282 (1)
Court case number:
[i18n] Итог дела:
дело прекращено, Аркадя Акопян считается несудимым
[i18n] Расследовалось:
МРСО СУ СК РФ по Кабардино-Балкарской Республике
[i18n] Рассмотрено судом первой инстанции:
Прохладненский районный суд Кабардино-Балкарской Республики
Олег Анатольевич Головашко
[i18n] Суд апелляционной инстанции:
Верховный Суд Кабардино-Балкарской Республики
Case History