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Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

Novokuznetsk: Law Enforcement Officers Search Elderly People, Suspecting Them of Worshiping Jehovah's God

Kemerovo Region

On June 8, 2021, in the city of Novokuznetsk law enforcement officers raided 3 houses of believing pensioners, as well as another apartment whose residents are not Jehovah's Witnesses.

At about 6 am the law enforcement officers broke into the home of a 74-year-old sister proceeding with the raid. They confiscated her Bible and the postcards, after that she was taken away for interrogation. The second victim of law enforcement officers was an elderly woman who does not leave home. Seven people invaded her home, nothing was confiscated.

The third search was carried out in the house of an elderly couple; a car of special police forces (OMON) was seen nearby. The couple was later taken to the police station for questioning. In the evening they were released, and the man was ordered not to leave his place.

Update.

According to 64-year-old Sergey Sushilnikov, he and his wife were woken up with long bells at the door. When the believer opened the door, three riot policemen burst into the apartment with machine guns, masks and bulletproof vests. Shouting "everyone, on the floor!" siloviki knocked down Sergey, and his wife was pushed against the wall. After that, two FSB operatives entered, accompanied by a specialist from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and attesting witnesses. The senior investigator of the Novokuznetsk Investigation Department, Pavel Nekhoroshev, read the order and began the search, which was carried out for 3.5 hours. By their actions, law enforcement officers have caused damage to property, in connection with which the apartment now requires repair. Electronic devices and data carriers were seized from the spouses.

After the search, the Sushilnikovs were taken to the investigation department, where they waited for interrogation for three hours, guarded by riot police. From the stress experienced, Sergei's blood pressure rose.

Another search took place in the apartment where Jehovah's Witnesses used to live, but now other people live there.

Novokuznetsk has become the seventh settlement in the Kemerovo Region where authorities have raided believers’ homes since the Supreme Court ruled to liquidate and ban all 396 registered religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. At present, some believers from this region, namely 48-year-old Vadim Levchuk and 55-year-old Sergey Britvin, are already serving their sentences in the general regime colony No. 3 in the Novosibirsk region.

Sushilnikov case in Novokuznetsk

Case History
During 2019 and 2020, the FSB monitored the telephone conversations of believers from/to Novokuznetsk and made audio and video recordings of meetings for worship. In June 2021, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against a veteran of labor, Sergey Sushilnikov. The peaceful believer was accused of continuing the activity of the local religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses and having conversations “in order to promote the activity of this banned organization”. His apartment was searched, during which time the law enforcement officers used force against Sergey and his wife and damaged their property. The believer was made to sign an agreement to appear if summoned, and later – a recognizance agreement. In July 2021, he was added to the Rosfinmonitoring list of extremists and his accounts were blocked. Sushilnikov’s criminal case went to court in February 2022. After 11 months, the believer was given a 6-year suspended sentence. The court of appeal upheld this decision.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Kemerovo Region
Locality:
Novokuznetsk
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, he "deliberately organized the continuation of the activities of the Novokuznetsk LRO, in respect of which the court made a final decision on liquidation in connection with the implementation of extremist activities."
Court case number:
12102320010000328
Initiated:
June 3, 2021
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Kemerovo Region - Kuzbass
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-7/2023 (1-108/2022; 1-865/2021)
Court of First Instance:
Кузнецкий районный суд г. Новокузнецка Кемеровской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Антон Иордан
Case History

Sushilnikova's case in Novokuznetsk

Case History
In the summer of 2021, the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses were searched in Novokuznetsk. A year later, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Tatyana Sushilnikova. She was accused of extremism because of attending Jehovah’s Witnesses services and talking about the Bible. In August 2022, the case went to the same court where Tatyana’s husband, Sergey, defended his right to religion. At the very first hearing, the judge returned Sushilnikova’s case to the prosecutor because of the violations found in the indictment. A month later, in November 2022, the case went back to court. A year later, the judge sentenced Tatiana to 4 years of suspended imprisonment. In January 2024, the appeal court left this decision in force.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Kemerovo Region
Locality:
Novokuznetsk
Suspected of:
"personally propagandized the activities of the organization and its ideological attitudes", "participated in missionary activities", "participated in meetings of followers of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, preaching the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses" (from the decision to bring as an accused)
Court case number:
12202320010000232
Initiated:
June 20, 2022
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Kemerovo Region - Kuzbass
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-45/2023 (1-342/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Кузнецкий районный суд г. Новокузнецка
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Валерия Шипицына
Case History

The case of Serebryakova in Novokuznetsk

Case History
In the summer of 2021, searches were conducted at Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city of Novokuznetsk. A year later, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against pensioner Lubov Serebryakova, and she was given a recognizance agreement. The investigation found the believer guilty of extremism for attending services of Jehovah’s Witnesses and talking about the Bible. Worries about criminal prosecution worsened the woman’s already poor health. In August 2022, the case went to trial. About a year later, the believer was sentenced to four years of suspended sentence, although the prosecutor requested a year less than that. The appeal upheld this verdict.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Kemerovo Region
Locality:
Novokuznetsk
Suspected of:
"personally propagandized the activities of the organization and its ideological attitudes", "participated in missionary activities", "participated in meetings of followers of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, preaching the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses" (from the decision to bring as an accused)
Court case number:
12202320010000262
Initiated:
July 8, 2022
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Kemerovo Region - Kuzbass
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-21/2023 (1-269/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Кузнецкий районный суд г. Новокузнецка
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Ольга Чайка
Case History