Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In Four Cities of Crimea, Homes of the Believers were Searched. A criminal case has been initiated


On August 14 and 16, 2023, at least nine searches of Jehovah's Witnesses took place in four cities of Crimea—Armyansk, Simferopol, Saki and Dzhankoy.

In the city of Simferopol, the search took place at Yekaterina Melniychuk. The woman got sick and her husband's blood pressure went up. Yekaterina was informed that a criminal case had been initiated against her. The woman was interrogated and released under recognizance agreement.

Dmitriy Zakharevich, who is a son-in-law of Aleksandr Voronchikhin, a defendant in one of the cases for his faith in Simferopol, was also searched. On the same day, the man received a decision to prosecute as a defendant in a criminal case. At the request of investigator V. A. Novikov, the court placed him and another believer under house arrest.

In the city of Armyansk, security forces searched both of the homes of a man. After that, the believer was taken for interrogation. In the city of Saki, seven security officials in balaclavas, four of whom were armed, conducted a two-hour search of the house of a believer who is 62. Electronic devices were seized from him.

The details of the searches in the city of Dzhankoy are yet unknown.

At this moment, twenty five residents of Crimea have been prosecuted for their faith. Six of them are serving their sentences in a penal colony.

Case of Voronchikhin and Others in Simferopol

Case History
In November 2022, mass searches of believers took place in the Simferopol district of Crimea, as a result of which a criminal case was initiated. Aleksandr Voronchikhin was interrogated and a recognizance agreement was taken from him. The Investigative Committee accused him of organizing the activity of an extremist organization, calling peaceful meetings for worship a crime. In August 2023, new searches took place in Armyansk, Simferopol and Saki, including at the homes of Voronchikhin’s son-in-law, Dmitry Zakharevich. He, as well as Aleksandr Kopylets, Ekaterina Demidova and several other Jehovah’s Witnesses became suspects in the case. Later, the cases of four believers were separated from their case into separate proceedings. Zakharevich and Kopylets spent more than 8 months under house arrest, after which they were released on their own recognizance. In November 2023, the case went to court, but was later returned to the prosecutor. After 7 months, the retrial of the case in court began.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Suspected of:
"took active organizational actions, expressed in the organization of propaganda meetings, at which discussions were held about the texts and religious provisions of Jehovah's Witnesses" (from the decision to initiate criminal proceedings)
Court case number:
November 17, 2022
Current case stage:
trial in court of first instance
First Investigation Department of the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.2 (1)
Court case number:
Court of First Instance:
Симферопольский районный суд
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Александр Сердюк
Case History