Criminal case against Jehovah's Witness for singing


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 28 May 2019


On 24 May 2019, in Kirov, personnel of the police center for combating extremism broke into an apartment where 60-year-old Anatoly Tokarev lives with his family. A criminal case based on the article "Organizing extremist activity" (part 1, article 282.2 CC RF) was opened against him for "group singing of biblical songs. . . in his apartment."


Personnel of the extremism center suggested to Anatoly Tokarev that he cooperate with the investigation in exchange for their not pursuing criminal prosecution of members of his family, but he refused (such cooperation implied "admission" by the believer of extremist activity, in which he never engaged, which is essentially self-incrimination). At the direction of the operational supervisor, O.V. Bratukhin, Anatoly and his son collected their things, although the police later acknowledged that they did not intend to arrest them for now. During the search, telephones and computer technology were taken from the family.


After the search, Anatoly was transported for questioning to Georgy Malykh, an investigator of the first department for investigation of especially serious matters of the investigation directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia (S.K.R.) for Kirov oblast, who is engaged in investigation of the case of Andrzej Oniszczuk, who has already languished eight months in SIZO-1 for Kirov oblast, and of other Jehovah's Witnesses. Anatoly Tokarev learned that on 8 May 2019, a criminal case was opened against him on the article "Organizing extremist activity," for the fact that, according to information of the investigation, "he organized. . . among other things, in his apartment . . . meetings of adherents and members of the aforementioned congregation, with the conduct of actions typical for this association, expressed in group singing of biblical songs. . . and study of religious literature of the so-called Sacred Scriptures (Bible) that is included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials, containing the religious teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses."


Anatoly Tokarev, his wife, and children were released, although he had to sign an obligation to appear for questioning and to report to the investigation the new telephone number (which he had to acquire in place of the one seized during the search). . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 28 May 2019)

Background article:

Pretrial restrictions of Jehovah's Witnesses comparatively long in Kirov
April 2, 2019

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