Sergey Ananin during the appeal hearing via videoconference, January 30

Unjust Verdicts

Cassation Court in Kemerovo Upheld Sergey Ananin's 6-Year Prison Term

Kemerovo Region

Sergey Ananin from the Kemerovo region is preparing to serve a 6-year sentence for his faith. On January 30, 2024, the cassation panel of the Eighth Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction in Kemerovo dismissed his cassation appeal against the verdict.

Sergey Ananin was taken into custody on March 31, 2023, immediately after the Belovo City Court handed down a harsh sentence. Judge Galina Proshchenko then sent the believer to a penal colony for 6 years. An appeal in June of the same year upheld the decision of the court of first instance.

In fact, the believer was found guilty of extremism only for communicating with fellow believers via video conferencing. In the cassation appeal, the lawyer noted: "In the course of the trial, it was reliably established that the actions of the convicted S.V. Ananin were in fact nothing more than an external manifestation of his attitude to religion, criminal liability for which, as the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation emphasized, is excluded." Sergey Ananin emphasized: "In fact, the courts simply refused to apply the direct and immediate norm of Article 28 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which guarantees everyone freedom of conscience and freedom of religion."

The lawyer also called the verdict unfair, since the courts did not take into account the state of health of the defendant, who suffered a heart attack on the eve of the searches. He said that under the conditions of imprisonment, Ananin's health could be irreparably harmed.

Contrary to the decision of the ECHR and the explanations of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, judges continue to pass convictions on Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the country. In the Kemerovo region, 15 believers have already been sentenced to various punishments for their faith.

The case of Ananin in Belovo

Case History
Sergey Ananin from Belovo was detained and placed in a temporary detention facility after a search of his home in February 2021. On that day, the security forces also came to his wife’s parents and several fellow believers. As it turned out, a peaceful believer became a defendant in a criminal case on extremism, which was initiated by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. After two days in custody, Ananin, who had recently suffered a heart attack and heart surgery, was placed under house arrest. This preventive measure deprived him of the opportunity to receive the full medical care necessary for recovery after surgery. In January 2022, the believer’s case went to court. The prosecution involved representatives of various churches, as well as a religious scholar, as witnesses. They did not know the defendant personally, and they had nothing bad to say about Jehovah’s Witnesses in general. In March 2023, the court sentenced Sergey Ananin to 6 years in prison, the sentence was left in force by the appelation and cassation.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Kemerovo Region
Suspected of:
"deliberately organized the continuation of the activities of the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses ... by organizing the convening and holding of a meeting of the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses ... including through a program for organizing videoconferences, conducting conversations in order to promote the activities of this banned organization" (from the decision to bring as an accused)
Court case number:
February 9, 2021
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
the second department for the investigation of especially important cases of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee for the Kemerovo Region - Kuzbass
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-71/2023 (1-395/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Беловский городской суд Кемеровской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Галина Прощенко
Case History