Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

New Searches and a Criminal Case in Moscow and Moscow Region. Aleksandr Serebryakov Who Was Previously Convicted for his Faith Was Detained

Moscow,   Moscow Region

On September 19, 2023, the homes of at least nine families of Jehovah's Witnesses were searched in several districts of Moscow and in the Moscow Region (the towns of Solnechnogorsk, Fryazino, Dmitrov, and Chekhov). Aleksandr Serebryakov, who is serving a suspended sentence, was sent to a detention center based on a new accusation.

Six days earlier, Captain of Justice Roman Ivanov, Senior Investigator of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the city of Moscow, initiated a criminal case against Serebryakov and unidentified persons under the article on financing the activity of an extremist organization. Aleksandr is charged for actions that took place in the period from 2018 to 2019, when he was already accused under another article.

The search of the home of the Sereabryakov family began early in the morning and continued for three hours. It was supervised by police major A. V. Tretyakov who is a senior operative agent of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs of Russia in the city of Moscow. Seven people were with him and some of them were armed. After the search, Aleksandr was taken for interrogation to the Investigative Committee. On September 20, 2023, Dmitriy Neudakhin, judge of the Savyolovsky District Court, imposed pre-trial detention until November 13, 2023 on the believer.

In Fryazino searches took place at the place of residence and at the place of registration of one Jehovah's Witness family. The ruling for investigative actions was issued by the Timiryazevsky District Court. The searches were supervised by police lieutenant A.V. Bigishnin. A 60-year-old couple were offered money to give away information about fellow believers, but they refused. One of the testifying witnesses was drunk and threatened the couple. Due to the stress, the family head suffered high blood pressure. After the search, he was taken for interrogation to the Investigative Committee as a witness.

On September 19, in Dmitrov and the nearby village of Zverkovo, homes of two Jehovah's Witness families were searched. Armed police officers came to a married couple with two minor children (seven and eleven years old) at 6:30 in the morning. They threatened to kick down the front door. Then a three-hour search of the apartment was carried out, after which the family head was taken to Moscow for interrogation and later released. Law enforcement officers came to search the house of the believer from Zverkovo at 7:00 in the morning. Because of the anxiety, the man's blood pressure spiked, but despite this, he was taken to Moscow, where he was interrogated and later released.

In Moscow, armed and masked law enforcement officers  broke into another home of believers at 7 a.m. and filmed everything with the phone. The family head was put face down on the floor and handcuffed. Later the handcuffs were removed because he did not resist and they found out that his 15-year-old daughter cannot cope with any stress due to a serious illness. The search lasted three and a half hours. It was supervised by FSB Lieutenant Colonel Denis Kozlov. Then the family head was taken in a minibus with armed guards for interrogation to the Investigative Committee to Investigator Pavel Pavlov.

Update. On September 26, another search took place in Solnechnogorsk. FSB officers detained a man right at his workplace and then taken home. The man was taken for interrogation, after which he was released.

During the searches, money, Bibles, bank cards, personal records, electronic devices and other data storage were seized from the believers.

In Moscow and the Moscow Region, 19 Jehovah's Witnesses have already become defendants in criminal cases because of their religious views. Of these, nine people were sentenced to imprisonment in a penal colony, and five, including an elderly woman, were given suspended sentences.

The case of Serebryakov in Moscow

Case History
In August 2022, the court found Aleksandr Serebryakov guilty of extremism because of his faith and sentenced him to 6 years probation. A year later, he was again prosecuted for his beliefs. The security forces again invaded his house, the believer was arrested. This time, Serebryakov was accused of financing the activities of an extremist organization. He is charged with actions committed from 2018 to 2019, when he was already accused under another article.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Court case number:
September 13, 2023
Current case stage:
preliminary investigation
Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the city of Moscow
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.3 (1)
Case History