Pavel Brilkov

Unjust Verdicts

A court in the Kemerovo region sentenced another Jehovah's Witness. Pavel Brilkov Received 2 Years and 10 Months of Forced Labor for Talking About the Bible

Kemerovo Region

On January 15, 2024, the judge of the Central District Court of Prokopyevsk, Alena Novoselova, found Pavel Brilkov, 65, who has a disability, guilty of participating in the activities of an extremist organization and sentenced him to 2 years and 10 months of forced labor only because of his faith.

In November 2021, the house of Pavel Brilkov and his wife was searched as part of the case of Andrey Vlasov, a group II disabled person who is serving a sentence for his faith in a penal colony. In March 2023, Brilkov himself became a defendant in a criminal case. Testimony against the believer was given by two men recruited by the FSB, one of whom once talked with Pavel about the Bible, and the second, according to him, saw the believer at a divine service.

Pavel Brilkov with his wife and friends on the day of the verdict
Pavel Brilkov with his wife and friends on the day of the verdict

The case went to court at the end of April 2023. Brilkov pleaded not guilty. In his final statement, he stated: "My faith in God is based on love, not hatred or extremism. What is the public danger from me? Who have I harmed? Where are the people or families who have suffered through my fault? What irreparable damage have I done to our country? Are conversations on topics such as family happiness, consolation for those who mourn, or the future earthly paradise so dangerous that a person is tried under a serious article and is ready to be thrown into prison? " Nevertheless, the prosecutor requested 3 years of imprisonment for the pensioner. Taking into account the age and disability of the defendant, he asked the court to impose a sentence of forced labor for a period of 3 years. The convict intends to appeal the verdict.

Earlier, Judge Novoselova convicted another Jehovah's Witness from Prokopyevsk, Yuriy Chernykh. He, like Brilkov, was a witness in the case of Andrey Vlasov. The Central District Court of Prokopyevsk is also hearing the case of Yuriy Chernykh's wife, Yelena. A total of 18 believers faced criminal prosecution for their faith in the Kemerovo region.

The August 2022 ECHR ruling in favor of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia notes that believers have the right to practice their religion "individually or in community with others" and this right "has always been considered an integral part of freedom of religion" (§ 268).

The case of Brilkov in Prokopyevsk

Case History
Pavel Brilkov, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses from Prokopyevsk, faced persecution for his faith back in 2020, when he was brought in as a witness in the case of Andrey Vlasov. In the fall of 2021, the house of Brilkov and his wife was searched, then the believer was interrogated. In March 2023, the believer himself became a defendant in a criminal case. According to the investigator of the Investigative Committee, he is guilty of extremism, because he “explained the meaning of excerpts from the Holy Scriptures.” In May 2023, hearings began in the case of the believer, and in January 2024, the court sentenced him to two years and ten months of forced labor. The appeal changed the sentence to two years suspended.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Kemerovo Region
Suspected of:
"repeatedly spoke out and explained the meaning and essence of excerpts from the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) and supplemented the answers of adherents of the religious teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses at a religious meeting" (from the decision to bring as an accused)
Court case number:
March 30, 2023
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate for Prokopyevsk of the 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:
Court of First Instance:
Центральный районный суд г. Прокопьевска
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Алёна Новосёлова
Case History