Pavel and Marina Sidorenko with a group of those who came to support them on the day of the verdict. April 2024

Unjust Verdicts

In Goryachy Klyuch, the Court Gave Pavel Sidorenko a 3-Year Suspended Sentence for Talking About the Bible. This is Already the 18th Jehovah's Witness Convicted for his Faith in the Krasnodar Territory

Krasnodar Territory

Pavel Sidorenko, 66, a resident of a suburb of Krasnodar, received a suspended sentence of 3 years for talking to local residents about the Bible. On April 3, 2024, the decision in his case was made by Zhanna Velichko, judge of the Goryachy Klyuch City Court.

In 2019, the believer took an Orthodox encyclopedia to work to show his colleagues the name "Jehovah" in it. An acquaintance of Pavel Sidorenko gave copies of the pages of this publication to the law enforcement officers. After that, the FSB began wiretapping telephone conversations and found out that he had been talking about the Bible with several local residents. This was enough to initiate a criminal case against Sidorenko on extremism in January 2022. His home was searched, and the believer was placed under a recognizance agreement.

In his final statement, Pavel Sidorenko emphasized: "My life in general, as well as the actions that I am charged with, are entirely peaceful. My views as a believing Christian with 33 years of experience are based on love for God and love for people, and have nothing to do with extremism."

Sidorenko lived in Kuban all his life. He and his wife are now retired; due to the criminal prosecution, the believer was fired from his job. "We both have a small pension. In addition, our adult daughter lives with us, who, due to illness, cannot work. I also can't get a job to have additional income," he said. "Our fellow believers help us financially; if necessary, they provide us with transport, and bring food and medicine."

According to an OSCE statement dated July 28, 2020, "all people, including Jehovah's Witnesses, should be able to peacefully exercise their rights, including the right to freedom of religion, peaceful assembly, and expression without discrimination, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation." Nevertheless, the number of believers who are prosecuted by the law enforcement officers continues to grow.

The Case of Sidorenko in Krasnodar

Case History
The criminal case against pensioner Pavel Sidorenko was initiated in January 2022. The FSB equated practicing faith in Jehovah God with participating in the activity of an extremist organization. Law enforcement officers conducted a search in Pavel’s apartment in the village of Prigorodny, during which his daughter, who suffers from a serious illness, experienced severe stress. Sidorenko was taken for interrogation, after which he was released under a recognizance agreement. In February 2023, the case went to court. In April 2024, Sidorenko was given a 3-year suspended sentence.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Krasnodar Territory
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, "there was a criminal intent to commit illegal actions for further participation in the activities of a local religious organization prohibited by law."
Court case number:
January 20, 2022
Current case stage:
verdict did not take effect
Investigative Department of the FSB Directorate for the Krasnodar Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-8/2024 (1-74/2023)
Court of First Instance:
Горячеключевской городской суд Краснодарского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Жанна Величко
Case History