Aleksandr Shcherbina on the day of his release from the penal colony. February 22, 2023

Served Sentences

Aleksandr Shcherbina Released. He Spent 2 Years in a Penal Colony For His Faith

Krasnodar Territory

On February 22, 2023, Aleksandr Shcherbina was released after serving his full term of imprisonment for his belief in Jehovah God. Earlier, the court of appeal commuted his sentence, reducing the period of stay in the penal colony from three years to two.

Shcherbina faced criminal prosecution in 2020, when homes of Jehovah's Witnesses were searched in villages of the Krasnodar Territory. After the charge of extremism, 2 months of judicial proceedings followed. As a result, the believer was sentenced to imprisonment in a penal colony only because of his religion.

Looking back, Aleksandr recalls that at the stage of investigative actions, “the most difficult thing was the conversation with the investigator, his questions and desire to extract the necessary information, as well as his reaction when I refused to cooperate with him.”

In the penal colony, the administration and prisoners treated the believer with respect. Although there were difficulties: upon arrival, Aleksandr was twice placed in a punishment cell for far-fetched reasons, he was not given personal correspondence for some time, and his requests for a Bible remained unanswered.

Aleksandr Shcherbina with friends on the day of his release from the penal colony. February 22, 2023
Aleksandr Shcherbina with friends on the day of his release from the penal colony. February 22, 2023

Despite this, Aleksandr did not lose heart. Later, he got a Bible anyway, and during his imprisonment he received more than 3,000 letters of support. Also, in the penal colony, the believer mastered a new profession as an auto mechanic.

Jehovah's Witnesses Artem Gerasimov and Sergey Filatov continue serving their 6-year sentences in the same penal colony. They should be released in 2026.

The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of June 7, 2022 states:: “The imposition of criminal sanctions for manifestation of religious beliefs amounts to an interference with the exercise of the right to freedom of religion” (§ 264). But Russian courts continue to convict law-abiding citizens only for their choice of religion.

Case of Shcherbina in Kholmskaya

Case History
In the spring of 2020, Aleksandr Shcherbina was subjected to a search and was summoned for interrogation as a witness in a criminal case against his fellow believer Aleksandr Ivshin. Six months later, FSB investigator Komissarov initiated a criminal case for “participation in the activity of an extremist organization” against Shcherbina himself. Law enforcement officers secretly videotaped Bible discussions and considered such conversations to be a continuation of the activity of a banned organization. In December, Aleksandr’s house was searched again. In April 2021, the Abinsk District Court sentenced the believer to 3 years in a penal colony. In June 2021, a court of appeal reduced the sentence to 2 years imprisonment. The believer filed a cassation appeal against the verdict, but the court left it unsatisfied. On February 22, 2023, Shcherbina was released after serving his main sentence.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Krasnodar Territory
Court case number:
November 12, 2020
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
FSB Directorate for the Krasnodar Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Абинский районный суд Краснодарского края
Сергей Михин
Case History