Photo: Alexey Budenchuk, Alexey Miretsky, Felix Makhammadiyev, Gennady German, Roman Gridasov

Crimes Against Believers

Five Believers Were Beaten in the Orenburg Colony. Feliks Makhammadiev Has a Broken Rib, a Damaged Lung and Kidney

Saratov Region,   Orenburg Region

On February 6, 2020, in Orenburg, officers of Correctional Colony No. 1 beat believers Budenchuk, Makhammadiyev, Miretsky, Gridasov and German with truncheons and kicks. As a result, one of them, Felix Makhammadiyev, was hospitalized. The rest were sent to a punishment cell on false charges.

The believers were beaten upon admission to a penal colony located in Krymsky Lane in Orenburg. The next day, doctors examined them. Only after Feliks Makhammadiyev wrote a document stating that he "hit the toilet" was an ambulance team called. He was hospitalized, underwent surgery, and a drain was inserted into his lung to drain fluid. Among other things, tests showed that Mahammadiev's body was starving (he had gluten intolerance, and the colony staff took away the special food prescribed by the doctor). The rest of the believers were sent to punishment cells on ridiculous false accusations, for example, "for smoking in the wrong place" (Jehovah's Witnesses do not smoke for religious reasons).

Update. On February 19, it became known that Felix Makhammadiyev was on the mend. The drainage of the lung is removed.

On September 19, 2019, Dmitry Larin , judge of the Leninsky District Court of Saratov, sentenced six Saratov believers to prison terms ranging from 2 to 3.5 years. Three months later, on December 20, 2019, the Saratov Regional Court upheld the verdict. Konstantin Bazhenov, the 6th believer, was sent to Correctional Colony No. 3 in the Ulyanovsk Region, so he was not injured in the incident in the Orenburg colony.

FKU "Correctional Colony No. 1" of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Orenburg Region is located in Orenburg at 119 Krymsky Lane. The head of the institution is Major of the Internal Service Alexander Nikolaevich Grebennikov.

A year ago, on February 15, 2019, 7 peaceful Jehovah's Witnesses in Surgut were tortured — electric shocks, strangulation, sophisticated beatings. Under torture, the investigators forced them to answer questions about their religion and fellow believers. According to believers, an investigation is underway.

Case of Bazhenov and Others in Saratov

Case History
In September 2019, Judge Dmitry Larin immediately sent 6 Saratov residents to prison for a term of 2 to 3.5 years just for reading the Bible, singing songs and praying. Since 2017, security forces have been conducting covert surveillance of believers. In the summer of 2018, their homes were searched with banned literature planted. While the investigation was underway, they had to go to a pre-trial detention center, under house arrest and under recognizance not to leave. A year later, despite the absence of victims in the case, the believers were found guilty. Upon arrival at the Orenburg colony, 5 out of 6 convicted believers were beaten by the staff of the institution. Mahammadiev was hospitalized, and the rest were placed in a punishment cell for a while. Saratov prisoners of conscience have mastered various professions in prison. In May 2020, Mahammadiev and Bazhenov were stripped of their Russian citizenship and, after their release, deported from Russia. All 6 believers have already served their sentences. In September 2022, the cassation court dismissed the complaint, and the verdict and the appellate ruling were unchanged.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Saratov Region
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:
June 9, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Saratov Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
Case History