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In the Penal Colony, The Health of Andrey Vlasov From Prokopyevsk, Who is Disabled, is Deteriorating

Kemerovo Region

Andrey Vlasov, 54, who is disabled, was sentenced to 7 years in a penal colony for his Christian beliefs. Due to a serious illness, he cannot manage without external help. The four-minute video tells what the believer has to face while waiting for the decision of the court of cassation.

In May 2022, the Central District Court of Prokopyevsk found Andrey Vlasov guilty of organizing the activity of an extremist organisation and sentenced him to 7 years in a penal colony. In July of the same year, the court of appeal confirmed the verdict. The courts considered it a crime that the believer participated in religious meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses via videoconferencing. According to the court, by discussing Bible commandments, the believer undermined the foundations of the constitutional order of state and society.

Natalya Vlasova, Andrey's wife: “Not a single piece of evidence was given. Well, for example, undermining the constitutional order of the country. How is it expressed? No mention of what my husband actually did. Breaking family ties. Which family, exactly, did he destroy? Name, surname, address, place of residence? Nothing is specified. The indictment just quoted Article 282. Andrey gave his final statement on May 23, 2022. Literally after a 5-minute break, the judge pronounced the sentence - 7 years.”

Maksim Polezhaykin, Andrey Vlasov's stepson: “My reaction is shock. Also the people who were present there, friends, acquaintances, relatives, were also all shocked.”

The courts did not take into account Andrey's state of health. He was taken into custody in the courtroom and sent to a pre-trial detention center. Earlier, after the searches and arrest in 2020, Andrey Vlasov was already in custody (later he was put under house arrest). Obviously, the conditions of imprisonment are unacceptable and painful for the believer.

Aleksandr Vakarev, surgeon, orthopedic traumatologist: "Andrey suffers from a severe form of osteoarthritis of both hip joints with their ankylosing, that is, total stiffness, as a result of which Andrey's functions of movement, personal care and socializing suffer."

As Maksim Polezhaykin said, after the arrest, Andrey Vlasov ended up in a cell in a pre-trial detention center alone, without external help: “In order to simply put on his pants, he had to roll on the floor.” Because of unsanitary conditions, the believer had to tidy up the cell on his own: “Huge cockroaches run around, cobwebs are everywhere, dirty. He tidied up, more or less for himself having to be there,” said Maksim.

Artur Ganin, lawyer: “The decree of the government of the Russian Federation establishes a general group of diseases, which specifically includes his disease. In order to somehow show this to the court, I turned to a specialist. Unfortunately, this disease can progress, and it is already progressing.”

Now Vlasov is in penal colony No. 3 in the Novosibirsk Region. He appealed the verdict and the appeal decision to the court of cassation, which has the power to restore freedom and decent living conditions to the believer.

According to Natalya Vlasova, Andrey remains optimistic and tries to keep in touch with her and his friends through letters. “Having already passed through these two years, I found myself thinking that in the beginning I was afraid. In fact, just waiting is scary. When it happens, Jehovah is so close, you can really feel his support!”

The Case of Vlasov in Prokopevsk

Case History
In July 2020, a criminal case was initiated against Andrey Vlasov, a disabled Jehovah’s Witness from Prokopyevsk. The FSB accused him of organizing the activity of an extremist organization. Searches were carried out in Vlasov’s home, as well as at his workplace. Despite the fact that he cannot manage without assistance, he was placed in a temporary detention facility, and three days later he was placed under house arrest. In June 2021, the Vlasov case went to court. Although the believer’s health was deteriorating, the court would not let him visit the doctor and repeatedly extended the house arrest. The prosecutor asked for a sentence of 8.5 years in prison for him. In May 2022, the court sentenced Vlasov to 7 years in a penal colony. He was taken into custody in the courtroom and sent to a detention center. There he fell ill, so he was sent to the medical correctional institution No. 16 of Novokuznetsk. In October 2022, the believer was placed in correctional institution No. 3 in Novosibirsk to serve his sentence. Despite the severe condition of Andrey Vlasov, neither the court of appeal nor the court of cassation mitigated this unprecedented verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Kemerovo Region
Suspected of:
"Using a technical means that allows for video conferencing ... organized a religious meeting" (from the verdict to Andrei Vlasov)
Court case number:
July 2, 2020
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Branch of the Federal Security Service of Russia in the Kemerovo Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-21/2022 (1-246/2021)
Центральный районный суд г. Прокопьевска Кемеровской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Павел Котыхов
Case History