In the photo from left to right: Venus and Daria Dulov, Alexander Pryanikov

Legal Victories

The Sverdlovsk Regional Court Overturned the Sentence of Three Karpinsk-Based Believers, Finding Them not Guilty of Extremism

Sverdlovsk Region

On March 15, 2022, the Sverdlovsk Regional Court overturned the conviction of Aleksandr Pryanikov, Venera, and Darya Dulova for being Jehovah's Witnesses. The believers have the right to rehabilitation. Earlier, the same court initiated a retrial of the believers' case.

On July 15, 2021, the Karpinsk City Court of the Sverdlovsk Region again found the believers guilty, giving them a suspended sentence of 1 to 2.5 years.

Venera Dulova has hearing disability. Her youngest daughter Darya faced criminal prosecution when she was only 18. It became difficult for Aleksandr Pryanikov to provide for his family. During the criminal process, all three believers were under house arrest. In addition, they were included in the list of extremists of Rosfinmonitoring.

In June 2018, Venera Dulova and Aleksandr Pryanikov were detained for talking about the Bible, which the investigators considered participation in the activities of an extremist organization. A criminal case was initiated. Soon their homes were searched. A year later, Darya became the third defendant in the case.

The trial revealed the inconsistency of the allegations. Secret witness "Osokina" was unable to give examples of illegal actions on the part of the defendants. She stated that the believers did not cause any harm to either her or her property. Another witness stated that he identified one of the defendants by the color of her hair, but it turned out that the investigator showed him only black and white photographs.

In 2020, the Dulovs and Pryanikov became defendants in another criminal case for their faith. They were charged with more serious charges: Venera and Darya - recruitment, and Aleksandr also the organization of extremist activities and the involvement of minors in it. Among the accused were also Alexander's wife Anastasia, Svetlana Zalyaeva and her husband. It is noteworthy that Ruslan Zalyaev does not profess the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses, nevertheless he is suspected of "participating in the activities of the Local Religious Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Krasnoturinsk by [...] holding conversations in order to promote religious exclusivity."

The Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation clarified that worship services of Jehovah's Witnesses, their joint performance of rites and ceremonies, in themselves do not constitute a crime.

Case of Prianikov and Others in Karpinsk

Case History
In June 2018, Venera Dulova and Aleksandr Pryanikov were detained for talking about the Bible. A criminal case was opened against them under an extremist article. A year later, Daria Dulova became the third defendant in the case. In January 2020, they were sentenced to suspended sentences ranging from 1 year to 2.5 years. An appeal in Yekaterinburg overturned the verdict and returned the case to the court of first instance. This time, the prosecutor requested a more severe punishment, but the court duplicated the first verdict. In March 2022, the appellate court again overturned the verdict, acquitting the believers. The cassation court did not change this decision. However, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation overturned it in March 2023 and returned the case to the appeal stage, which returned the case to the prosecutor’s office, after which the cassation sent it for a new appeal hearing. A fourth appellate decision upheld the convictions of Aleksandr and Venera. Daria is exempt from criminal liability, as the statute of limitations has expired. All three believers are defendants in another criminal case for their faith.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Sverdlovsk Region
Suspected of:
"Within the jurisdiction of the city of Karpinsk... together with a group of people, being fully aware that the religious organization Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia was declared extremist and its activities in the Russian Federation were prohibited, [he] participated in its activities by directly taking part in events, carrying out propaganda of its activities, familiarizing with religious literature."
Court case number:
July 30, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
СО в г. Краснотурьинске СУ Следственного комитета РФ по Свердловской области
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-11/2021 (1-184/2020; 1-5/2020; 1-167/2019)
Карпинский городской суд Свердловской области
Case History