Valeriy Tibiy (top) with his wife and friends in front of the court of cassation

Unjust Verdicts

The Court of Cassation Upheld the Verdict of Three Jehovah's Witnesses from Taganrog. One of Them Has Already Been Prosecuted for His Faith for 15 Years

Rostov Region,   Krasnodar Territory

On March 28, 2024, the Fourth Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction in Krasnodar finally confirmed the verdict for believers from Taganrog: Aleksandr Skvortsov and Vladimir Moiseyenko — 7 and 6 years in a penal colony, respectively, and Valeriy Tibiy — 6 years suspended.

Skvortsov and Moiseyenko attended the hearing via videoconference from the penal colony where they are serving their sentences. Tibiy and his wife were in the courtroom, as well as listeners who came to support the believers. Only Moiseyenko and Tibiy were able to speak before the panel of judges, Skvortsov was not given a chance to speak. The judges stayed in the deliberation room for 5 minutes. They dismissed the cassation appeals.

The verdict for peaceful religious practice, as well as for conversations with an undercover FSB agent who pretended to be interested in the Bible, was passed in June 2023 — the Taganrog City Court of the Rostov Region considered the guilt of the believers in organizing the activity of an extremist organization to be proven. Two months later, the court of appeal upheld this decision.

Jehovah's Witnesses have been prosecuted in Taganrog for 15 years. In 2009, the local religious organization was liquidated, and later Aleksandr Skvortsov was convicted in the "Case of 16" — he was given a suspended sentence of more than five years. In December 2021, the homes of believers in Taganrog were searched again, after which Aleksandr was taken into custody. Five months later, despite a recent heart attack, Valeriy Tibiy was placed in a pre-trial detention center, and in July 2022, Vladimir Moiseyenko was also.

The believers from Taganrog were among those who appealed against the actions of law enforcement officers and the decisions of Russian courts to the European Court of Human Rights. In February 2022, the ECHR ruled that the prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses for their religious beliefs is unlawful.

The Case of Skvortsov and Others in Taganrog

Case History
Aleksandr Skvortsov is one of those convicted in the high-profile “Case of 16”. Shortly after the believer had served his sentence in full, the security forces searched his house. Six months later, in December 2021, searches were carried out at the homes of 30 residents of Taganrog. Aleksandr was taken for interrogation and detained. In March 2022, Valeriy Tibiy also became a defendant in the criminal case. He was sent to jail despite being seriously ill. The third defendant in the case, Vladimir Moiseyenko, ended up in pre-trial detention in July of the same year. Investigators accused all three of organizing the activity of an extremist organization. The case went to court in November 2022. During the hearings, it turned out that the FSB had been monitoring them since 2016, and an undercover agent recorded his conversations about the Bible with the believers. In June 2023, Skvortsov and Moiseyenko were sentenced to 7 and 6 years in a penal colony, respectively, and Tibiy was given a 6-year suspended sentence. The court of appeal, and later the court of cassation, upheld this decision.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Rostov Region
Suspected of:
"organized the activities of the religious organization of the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses "Taganrog", recognized as extremist and liquidated" back in 2009.
Court case number:
December 7, 2021
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate for the city of Taganrog of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Rostov Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-43/2023 (1-829/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Таганрогский городской суд Ростовской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Георгий Серебряников
Case History