Served Sentences

Sergey Polyakov, One of Jehovah's Witnesses from Omsk, Was Released. He Served a Sentence of Three Years in a Penal Colony

Omsk Region

On November 30, 2022, Sergey Polyakov's sentence ended and he was released. The believer served the full term of imprisonment - 3 years, of which he actually spent about 1.5 years in the penal colony.

In November 2020, a district court found Polyakov guilty of extremism because of his religion. After an appeal confirmed the verdict in May 2021, Sergey was transferred to Valdai, which is 3,000 kilometers from his hometown. The journey took almost 2 months, and in August he arrived at penal colony No. 4 in the city of Valdai.

In the colony Sergey had the opportunity to work as a contractor. He had good relations with both the prisoners and the administration—he was respected as a prisoner for his faith, there were no conflicts.

Thanks to the onsite library, Polyakov received a Bible. He was greatly supported by letters from friends and relatives. He says that he received more letters a day than the entire colony (about 250 people). Sergey was visited by his wife several times.

On June 7, 2022, the European Court of Human Rights fully acquitted Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and ruled to stop persecuting them for their faith.

Case of the Polyakovs and Others in Omsk

Case History
In 2018, the Polyakovs were arrested in Omsk. During the arrest, Sergei was beaten and forced to wipe his blood off the floor. The couple spent five months in solitary confinement and three months under house arrest. In 2019, the Investigative Committee again searched the houses of believers, and Gaukhar Bektemirova and Dinara Dyusekeyeva became defendants in the case. The court considered the case for almost a year. Evidence of guilt was even sought in cartoons seized during the search. In November 2020, Sergey Polyakov was sentenced to three years in a penal colony, and three women were given suspended sentences: Anastasiya Polyakova—two and a half years; Gaukhar Bektemirova—two years and three months; Dinara Dyusekeyeva—two years. In May 2021, the appeal court upheld the verdict, and in June 2022, this verdict was upheld by the cassation court. In November 2022, Sergei Polyakov was released after serving his full term in a penal colony, and in January 2023, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation partially granted Polyakov’s appeal regarding the term of his sentence.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Omsk Region
Suspected of:
according to the investigation she participated in religious services, which is interpreted as participating in 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:
June 20, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Azov Inter-district Investigative Department of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Omsk Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.2 (1), 282.3 (1)
Court case number:
Первомайский районный суд г. Омска
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Денис Першукевич
Case History