NEW CRIMINAL CASE FOR FAITH IN NOVOSIBIRSK; AROUND 70 PERSONS INTERROGATED
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 25 April 2019
On 19 April 2019, FSB personnel simultaneously broke into at least six residences of peaceful citizens, whom authorities suspect of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. It was learned of the opening of a criminal case with respect to 64-year-old Alexander Seredkin, 44-year-old Valery Maletskov, and 48-year-old Marina Chaplykina. On 21 April 2019, the October district court denied the investigator the imprisonment in pretrial custody of Seredkin and Maletskov. Instead, a pretrial measure of restriction in the form of house arrest was selected for them. A signed promise not to depart was taken from Marina Chaplykina.
Alexander Seredkin is charged under part 1 of article 282.2 of the CCRF for arranging the activity of an extremist organization. In the opinion of the investigation, he "arranged meetings and led the reading and discussion of literature that has been rule to be extremist." Valery Maletskov and Marina Chaplykina are charged under part 2 of article 282.2 of the CCRF for participation in the activity of an extremist organization. The investigation considers that they assisted A. Seredkin. The case was initiated by the senior investigator for especially grave cases of the investigation department of the FSB directorate of Russia for Novosibirsk oblast, Justice Lieutenant Colonel E.V. Seliunin. More than seventy persons were interrogated with respect to the case.
Searches in homes of believers were conducted in accord with a similar pattern. A loud knock rang out at 20:45 on the door of the home of Valery Maletskov, who lives with his wife and young child. Without waiting for a response, the door was broken down. With a shout of "Stop. Do not move. Raise your arms!" five men in camouflage and masks and with weapons and devices for smashing doors burst into the house. After this, another nine persons in civilian clothes entered the house right away. They declared that by a decision of a court, a search will be conducted in the house. Police Lieutenant Colonel A.V. Pinaev and FSB Captain D.S. Masliukov presented their credentials. The operation was directed by an FSB officer who refused to present his credentials. The search lasted until 3 a.m., during which passports, telephones, computer equipment, and a disk with a video of their wedding were confiscated from the family. After the search, the couple was taken to the directorate of the Russian FSB for Novosibirsk oblast at 49 Kommunisticheskaia St. There the interrogation continued at 5 a.m., which was video taped. After the interrogation, Valery Maletskov was placed in a cell. The man asked the investigator for a measure of pretrial restriction in the form of a signed promise not to depart because of special circumstances (he is the only source of support for the family, he works two jobs for supporting a young child and a 72-year-old mother who is an invalid of the second category). However the investigator, Seliunin, asked the court to put the man behind bars, without even mentioning his request in court.
In the autumn of last year, a criminal case against Yury Saveliev, who is now in a SIZO, was filed in Novosibirsk. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 April 2019)
NEW INCIDENTS OF PLANTING FORBIDDEN ITEMS ON BELIEVERS
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 24 April 2019
In April 2019, in Novosibirsk and in the resort village of Inozemtsevo (Stavropol territory), during searches in the homes of believers, books included in the list of extremist materials were planted on them. Such a practice was used throughout the country by law enforcement personnel in 2016 and 2017, and it was sharply curtailed after the decision of the Russian Supreme Court liquidating all congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses.
On 19 April 2019, during a search in Novosibirsk, a believer noticed a book that is included in the list of extremist materials had been planted on him.
On 22 April 2019, in Inozemtsevo, a group of law enforcement personnel simultaneously broke into the place of work and the home of 65-year-old Oleg Popadin. At work, a book and digital disk were planted on him, and at his home, another such book was planted on his wife. A search was also made in the believer's car. Telephones and a computer hard drive were seized. Questions about Jehovah's Witnesses were asked, and it was demanded that he implicate himself and others after he agreed to cooperate.
At the time of the Supreme Court's decision, at least 60 incidents of frame-ups and falsifications had already been identified. Illegal actions were often caught by surveillance cameras. Unscrupulous law enforcement personnel, hoping to receive service promotions, resort to falsifications because there are no real violations of law on the part of Jehovah's Witnesses. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 April 2019)
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