Sergey Ananin near the court building. March 2021

Unjust Verdicts

In the City of Belovo, Kemerovo Region, the Court Sentenced Sergey Ananin to 6 Years in a Penal Colony. Faith in God and Reading the Bible Is Regarded as a Crime

Kemerovo Region

On March 31, 2023, Galina Proshchenko, judge of the Belovo City Court of the Kemerovo Region, sentenced one of Jehovah's Witnesses Sergey Ananin to 6 years in a penal colony. The court considered praying, singing songs and discussing the Bible via the Internet as "organizing the activity of an extremist organization". The believer is taken into custody in the courtroom.

The believer did not admit his guilt and said in court: “I had neither criminal intent nor an extremist attitude. I believe in God and my Bible-trained conscience does not allow me to have evil thoughts against others in order to harm people and society in general. I respect the existing authorities".

Sergey Ananin has shown himself to be responsible and hardworking, as evidenced by the reference from his place of work, certificates of honor and feedback from colleagues. Relatives, friends and neighbors know Sergey as a loving family man. According to them, he respects people regardless of their religious views. Although none of the witnesses questioned in court could confirm that the defendant committed any illegal acts, the prosecutor asked the court to send him to prison for 8 years.

In December 2020, Sergey Ananin suffered a massive heart attack, had heart surgery and spent several days in intensive care. Half a month later, security officers broke into his house to conduct a search, and Sergey ended up in a temporary detention center, even though he needed special medical treatment. Subsequently, he spent more than two years under house arrest and all this time he was deprived of the opportunity to receive quality treatment.

From February 2021 to January 2022, M.A. Nikitin, the investigator for especially important cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for the Kemerovo Region — Kuzbass, investigated the case against Sergey Ananin, then the case was heard in court for 14 months.

In the Kemerovo Region, 17 people have already been prosecuted. In the city of Prokopyevsk, Andrey Vlasov was sentenced to 7 years in a penal colony despite his disability. Three more Jehovah's Witnesses from the Kemerovo Region have already served their sentences.

Experts note that in hundreds of cases against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia there are no facts of them committing real crimes. Religious scholar Vadim Schiller, speaking for the prosecution at one of the trials, admitted: "All the Jehovah's Witnesses that I have come across make a very good impression."

The case of Ananin in Belovo

Case History
Sergey Ananin from Belovo was detained and placed in a temporary detention facility after a search of his home in February 2021. On that day, the security forces also came to his wife’s parents and several fellow believers. As it turned out, a peaceful believer became a defendant in a criminal case on extremism, which was initiated by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. After two days in custody, Ananin, who had recently suffered a heart attack and heart surgery, was placed under house arrest. This preventive measure deprived him of the opportunity to receive the full medical care necessary for recovery after surgery. In January 2022, the believer’s case went to court. The prosecution involved representatives of various churches, as well as a religious scholar, as witnesses. They did not know the defendant personally, and they had nothing bad to say about Jehovah’s Witnesses in general. In March 2023, the court sentenced Sergey Ananin to 6 years in prison, the sentence was left in force by the appelation and cassation.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Kemerovo Region
Locality:
Belovo
Suspected of:
"deliberately organized the continuation of the activities of the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses ... by organizing the convening and holding of a meeting of the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses ... including through a program for organizing videoconferences, conducting conversations in order to promote the activities of this banned organization" (from the decision to bring as an accused)
Court case number:
12102320035000009
Initiated:
February 9, 2021
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigating:
the second department for the investigation of especially important cases of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee for the Kemerovo Region - Kuzbass
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-71/2023 (1-395/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Беловский городской суд Кемеровской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Галина Прощенко
Case History