Pavel and Darya Kazadaev surrounded by friends on the day of the verdict

Unjust Verdicts

In the Altai Territory, Another Jehovah's Witness Has Been Convicted for his Faith. Court in Barnaul Gave Pavel Kazadaev a 3-Year Suspended Sentence

Altai Territory

On May 26, 2023, Dmitriy Malikov, judge of the Industrial District Court of Barnaul, gave Pavel Kazadaev, 26, a 3-year suspended sentence with restriction of liberty for 6 months and a probation period of 2 years for participating in the peaceful worship of Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against the believer in May 2021. Two weeks later, the security forces conducted mass searches at the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Altai Territory, calling the special operation "Armageddon". Law enforcement officers also searched the house of Kazadaev's parents in the village of Lugovoye and the apartment in Novokuznetsk (Kemerovo Region), where he lived with his wife. The believer was taken to Barnaul and placed in a temporary detention facility, and later under a recognizance agreement.

About a year later, the case of Pavel Kazadaev went to court. The prosecutor requested a sentence for him in the form of 3 years in a penal colony and 1 year restriction of liberty. Commenting on the charges against him, Pavel stated: “The prosecution does not indicate the date, time, place, specific persons in whose presence I made any statements promoting the superiority of Jehovah’s Witnesses over other persons, and does not cite such statements”. The investigation considered Kazadaev guilty for participating in meetings for worship. Regarding these meetings he explained: “We discussed why it is important to show attention and sympathy to people and how to do it in practice”.

The criminal prosecution caused many difficulties in the life of the Kazadaev family. Their fellow believers have become a great support for them. Pavel said: “Our friends are constantly interested in how we are doing. For example, after the searches they helped us materially. We also really appreciate their emotional support: they send us cards and messages, small gifts and simply invite us over. Friends come to court to support me, for this some travel more than 100 kilometers”.

As a result of operation “Armageddon”, a total of 4 criminal cases were initiated against 6 believers in the Altai Territory. One of them, Andrey Danielyan, was sentenced to 6 years in a penal colony.

The Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ruled that Jehovah's Witnesses, despite the liquidation of their legal entities, can exercise the right to freedom of conscience and religion, including through individual or joint confession of religion, worship or other religious rites and ceremonies, if they do not contain signs of extremism (p. 20).

The case of Kazadaev in Barnaul

Case History
In May 2021, the Investigative Committee accused Pavel Kazadaev of participating in the activity of an extremist organization, “including through discussions.” A massive raid, named “Armageddon”, was conducted at the homes of the believers in the Altai Territory. The law enforcement officers searched the house of Pavel’s relatives in the village of Lugovoe, as well as his apartment in Novokuznetsk (Kemerovo Region), after which he was taken to Barnaul for interrogation. After 24 hours in a detention center, he signed a recognizance agreement. At the end of June 2022, the criminal case went to court. In April 2023, Pavel Kazadaev was given a 3-year suspended sentence with restriction of liberty for 6 months and a probation period of 2 years. In August, the Court of Appeal toughened the sentence, replacing the suspended sentence with imprisonment in a penal colony for 3 years.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Altai Territory
Locality:
Barnaul
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, Pavel Kazadaev, "being an active participant in an extremist organization, carried out actions to support the existence of the assembly in the Altai Territory, including through interviews."
Court case number:
12102010022000023
Initiated:
May 11, 2021
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigating:
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Altai Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-18/2023
Court of First Instance:
Индустриальный районный суд г. Барнаула Алтайского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Дмитрий Маликов
Case History