Lubov Serebryakova

Unjust Verdicts

Court Found Lubov Serebryakova, 72, Guilty of Extremism for Reading the Bible. Peaceful Believer and Grandmother of Three, Given 4-Year Suspended Sentence

Kemerovo Region

On July 11, 2023, Olga Chaika, judge of the Kuznetsk District Court of Novokuznetsk, found Lubov Serebryakova guilty of extremism because of her religion. The elderly Jehovah's Witness was given a 4-year suspended sentence — a year more than the prosecutor requested for her.

The believer herself does not plead guilty, which she stated to the court: “I performed all my religious actions exclusively within the framework of freedom of religion.” The essence of the charges were simply that Serebryakova attended peaceful meetings for worship and made several comments based on the Bible.

In June 2021, law enforcement officers raided the homes of several elderly Jehovah's Witnesses in Novokuznetsk. They were being tracked from November 2019. The home of Serebryakova was not searched. Vladislav Minayev, an investigator of the Investigative Committee for the Kemerovo Region — Kuzbass, initiated a criminal case against her in the summer of 2022. The believer was accused of participating in the activity of an extremist organization and was made to sign a recognizance agreement. The investigation lasted two months, and in August 2022 the case went to court.

What is happening has worsened the already poor health of the believer. Even before the start of the persecution, Lyubov experienced two heart attacks, and when the pre-trial investigation was over, she was again admitted to emergency cardiology.

Despite the condemnation of the global community, Russian law enforcement agencies continue to prosecute Jehovah's Witnesses for their peaceful religious practice not prohibited by law. Among those who have faced repression are more than fifty men and women over the age of 70.

The case of Serebryakova in Novokuznetsk

Case History
In the summer of 2021, searches were conducted at Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city of Novokuznetsk. A year later, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against pensioner Lubov Serebryakova, and she was given a recognizance agreement. The investigation found the believer guilty of extremism for attending services of Jehovah’s Witnesses and talking about the Bible. Worries about criminal prosecution worsened the woman’s already poor health. In August 2022, the case went to trial. About a year later, the believer was sentenced to four years of suspended sentence, although the prosecutor requested a year less than that. The appeal upheld this verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Kemerovo Region
Suspected of:
"personally propagandized the activities of the organization and its ideological attitudes", "participated in missionary activities", "participated in meetings of followers of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, preaching the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses" (from the decision to bring as an accused)
Court case number:
July 8, 2022
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Kemerovo Region - Kuzbass
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-21/2023 (1-269/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Кузнецкий районный суд г. Новокузнецка
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Ольга Чайка
Case History