Photo: Valery Moskalenko

Administrative Prosecution

A Khabarovsk Court of Appeal Replaced a Believer's 26 Months of Forced Labor with a Large Fine

Khabarovsk Territory

On November 5, 2019, the Khabarovsk Regional Court commuted the sentence of Valery Moskalenko, replacing forced labor with a fine of 500 thousand rubles for reading an excerpt from Christ's Sermon on the Mount. Taking into account 396 days in the pre-trial detention center, the court released him from paying this fine. The prosecution asked for 3 years in prison for him.

The verdict has entered into force. The court ruled to return to Moskalenko all the items seized from him during the search, including computer equipment, notebooks with personal notes, as well as printed publications of Jehovah's Witnesses, with the exception of one book included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials.

Earlier, on September 2, 2019, the court of first instance sentenced him to 2 years and 2 months of forced labor, as well as to restriction of freedom for a period of 6 months in the form of a ban on leaving Khabarovsk and the obligation to report to the inspection on a monthly basis.

The text of the appellate ruling in the form of a signed document is not yet available.

Moskalenko believes that criminal prosecution for believing in God is unacceptable. On December 18, 2018, his complaint "Moskalenko v. Russia" regarding his illegal detention was submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. Now Moskalenko intends to file a complaint with the ECHR against the conviction.

Case of Moskalenko in Khabarovsk

Case History
On November 5, 2019, the Khabarovsk Regional Court handed down the final verdict in the case of Valeriy Moskalenko - a fine of 500,000 rubles. Previously, the Zheleznodorozhny District Court sentenced the peaceful believer to 2 years and 2 months of forced labor and 6 months of restricted freedom. The believer was charged under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code on the grounds that on April 21, 2018, he, “acting intentionally”, “with observance of conspiracy measures”, participated in a worship service of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The believer was thrown behind bars in August 2018 after the Khabarovsk FSB searched Valeriy’s home in his absence. For more than a year, the elderly single mother was deprived of her son’s support. In court, the expert stated that the words from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, which Moskalenko discussed among fellow believers, “are evidence of exclusivity propaganda and a call to continue the activities of a banned organization.” The prosecution also relied on the testimony of a witness, who stated in court that he did not know Valeriy and did not sign the interrogation protocol. The believer does not agree with the verdict and is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Khabarovsk Territory
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, together with others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as “organising the activity of an extremist organisation” (with reference to the decision of the Russian Supreme Court on the liquidation of all 396 registered organisations of Jehovah’s Witnesses)
Court case number:
August 1, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Khabarovsk Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Case History