Updated: February 21, 2024
Name: Akopyan Arkadya Akopovich
Date of Birth: May 28, 1948
Current status: charges withdrawn
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282 (1)
[i18n] Wrongfully prosecuted: for 2 years, 8 months, 20 days

Biography

Arkadya Hakobyan was born in 1948 in a small Armenian village in Azerbaijan. Parents worked on a viticultural collective farm, raised four sons. Arkadya unsuccessfully entered the Pedagogical Institute, but eventually began to work in a sewing studio, fell in love with tailoring and even completed correspondence studies at the Faculty of Modeling of the Baku Technical School.

In 1978, Arkadya married Sonya. Ten years later, an outbreak of ethnic violence in Azerbaijan forced him and his three children to move to Kabardino-Balkaria. Having met Jehovah's Witnesses in the early 1990s, Arkadya Akopovich appreciated the depth of biblical wisdom. Separately, he was struck by how alien ethnic hostility is to the followers of this religion.

His wife Sonia is not a baptized Jehovah's Witness. Nevertheless, they have been happily married for about 40 years. Since becoming one of Jehovah's Witnesses 25 years ago, her husband has never forced her or her children to change their religion. All this does not correspond to the accusation of "extremism" brought against Hakobyan. Both the family and neighbors, including people of different nationalities, cultures and religions, respect Arkada, know him as a kind and sympathetic person.

Marital status: married. He has 3 children, 6 grandchildren, 3 siblings.

In the photo (from left to right): granddaughter Alina, Arkadya Hakobyan, his wife Sonya, granddaughter Oksana, daughter Liana, son-in-law Alexander, granddaughter Diana.
In the photo (from left to right): granddaughter Alina, Arkadya Hakobyan, his wife Sonya, granddaughter Oksana, daughter Liana, son-in-law Alexander, granddaughter Diana.

Case history

In the late 1980s, Arkadya Hakobyan, his wife and three children fled ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan. More than 25 years later, as a peaceful elderly man, Arkadia became a victim of religious repression. In June 2016, a criminal case was opened against him for a public speech in which he allegedly humiliated the dignity of followers of other religions. In May 2017, hearings began in the Prokhladnensky District Court, during which it turned out that the testimony of witnesses underlying the case was false, and the expert’s opinion was replete with errors. The prosecutor demanded 3 years of probation for the believer. In December 2018, Judge Oleg Golovashko sentenced the believer to 120 hours of compulsory labor. In March 2019, the Supreme Court of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic overturned the conviction. Hakobyan was cleared of all charges.