Sergey Ledenyov and his wife

Unjust Verdicts

Kamchatka resident Sergey Ledenyov was sentenced to two years of probation for speaking about the moral value of the Bible

Kamchatka Territory

On November 24, 2020, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky City Court found the believer guilty of activity of extremist organization but reclassified his actions from part 1 (organization) to part 2 (participation) of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code. He was appointed two years conditionally with a probation period of three years. The prosecutor demanded six years of the penal colony.

The sentence did not come into force. Sergey Ledenyov did not plead guilty and intends to appeal the decision. "My conscience is pure before God and people," he said in his last word to Judge Natalia Lychkova. "When a person commits a real crime, he is expected to repent in the last word. I still can't understand what I need to repent. That I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses? In other words, that I deeply believe in Jehovah and tell others about him? Or that we gathered together with friends? What exactly is my crime? The entire investigation has proven that the worship meetings that I am accused of are purely peaceful, legal, non-hazardous religious activity, which was not banned by any court."

The criminal prosecution of Sergey Ledenyov lasts almost 2 years. Searches in houses of believers were conducted in December 2018. He was charged with organizing the activities of a banned organization for discussing the Bible with other people. A year later, in 2019, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky City Court found many violations in the case and returned it to the prosecutor, but the supervisory authority finally insisted that the case be considered in court.

Law scholars and human rights activists both in Russia and abroad unanimously condemn the authorities' actions against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

Case of Ledenyov in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy

Case History
“They liquidated a legal entity, but they are persecuting an individual. If a hospital is closed, doctors are not judged for being doctors.” So a peaceful believer from Kamchatka, Sergey Ledenyov, had to explain the obvious in court. In December 2018, a criminal case was opened against him under Article 282.2 (1) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The investigator accused Ledenyov of organizing extremist activities, imputing “planned training in the postulates of the religious association Jehovah’s Witnesses.” At a preliminary hearing, the court returned the case to the prosecutor, but the supervisory authority eventually insisted that the case be considered in court. At the hearings in the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky City Court, chaired by Natalia Lychkova, witnesses, a religious scholar, and the defendant himself repeatedly emphasized the peacefulness of Jehovah’s Witnesses and their incompatibility with extremism. Nevertheless, the prosecutor demanded that the court imprison Ledenyov for 6 years in a colony. In November 2020, the court sentenced him to 2 years of suspended imprisonment. On January 19, 2021, the appellate court upheld the verdict. On August 19, 2022, the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky City Court expunged Sergey’s criminal record ahead of schedule.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Kamchatka 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:
December 2, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Kamchatka Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
Court of First Instance:
Петропавловск-Камчатский городской суд Камчатского края
Лычкова Наталья Геннадьевна
Case History