Unjust Verdicts

The Appeal in Kemerovo Upheld the Sentence of Lyubov Serebryakova, 72. She Received a Four Years of Suspended Sentence<br>

Kemerovo Region

On September 5, 2023, the Kemerovo Regional Court upheld the verdict of Lubov Serebryakova, 72, who was sentenced to four years of suspended sentence with a probation period of three years and restriction of liberty for ten months for talking about God. The verdict may be appealed in the court of cassation.

In her appeal, Lubov Serebryakova pointed out the mistakes that, in her opinion, were made by the court of first instance. For example, the verdict does not describe the specific extremist actions that she had participated in that prosecution claims to have taking place. The dates, times and places of any extremist actions and their role in the propitiation of the activities of the banned organization are not indicated. In addition, the believer notes that "the verdict cannot be based on the assumptions" of prosecution witnesses. Testifying, they explained that they did not know the defendant and had not met her before. One of them is a clergyman of another denomination, who also could not confirm anything of what the pensioner is accused of.

Before the start of the unfair criminal prosecution, Lubov experienced two heart attacks, and shortly before the completion of the pre-trial investigation, she again needed emergency cardiac care.

Russian courts have already convicted 85 Jehovah's Witnesses over the age of 60. Of these, 21 believers received an actual term of imprisonment, 12 people are in penal colonies at the moment.

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