Daria, Venera Dulov and Alexander Pryanikov at the building of the Sverdlovsk Regional Court. August 6, 2020

Legal Victories

An Appeals Court Upheld the Acquittal of Three Jehovah's Witnesses from Karpinsk

Sverdlovsk Region

On September 15, 2022, the Seventh General Jurisdiction Court of Cassation in Chelyabinsk refused to satisfy the prosecutor's cassation submission and upheld the acquittal of Aleksandr Pryanikov, Venera and Darya Dulova.

The criminal persecution of believers began in June 2018, when police detained Aleksandr Pryanikov and Venera Dulova, who had disability of hearing, while talking about Bible topics. A month later, a criminal case was opened against them, accusing them of participating in the activities of an extremist organization for discussing the Bible. A year later, the third defendant in the case was the daughter of Venera, Darya Dulova.

The court of first instance issued a guilty verdict in January 2021, but in August an appeals court in Yekaterinburg overturned it and returned the case to the court of first instance. As a result of repeated hearings in the new composition, the court again sentenced the believers to suspended sentences. In the spring of 2022, the Sverdlovsk Regional Court overturned the decision of the court of first instance and acquitted the believers. But the prosecutor filed a cassation presentation with the Seventh Court of Cassation.

Aleksandr Pryanikov, Venera and Darya Dulova are defendants in another criminal case initiated for their faith on similar charges.

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