Barmakin's case in Vladivostok

Case history

Dmitry Barmakin came to Vladivostok from the Crimea to take care of his sick mother-in-law and her elderly mother. In July 2018, law enforcement officers in masks and with weapons broke into their house with a search. Dmitriy was arrested, and he spent 1.5 years in jail. The judge returned the criminal case to the prosecutor due to the ambiguity of the charges. In April 2021, the case went to court again, and 7 months later, Judge Stanislav Salnikov fully acquitted Dmitry Barmakin. In April 2022, the regional court overturned this verdict and sent the case for a new trial. As a result, the believer received 8 years in prison. In August 2023, an appeal overturned this verdict as well, released Barmakin, and returned the case for a third trial to the court of first instance. This decision was appealed by the prosecutor, and the cassation sent the case to a different composition of the court of appeal, which upheld the guilty sentence: 8 years in a penal colony.

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    October 2017

    Ekaterina Petrova, a 30-year-old local resident, feigning an interest in the Bible, meets with local believers and asks questions about faith in God. Later it turns out that she conducts hidden video filming on the instructions of the special services.

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    July 27, 2018

    The Investigative Committee of Russia in the Pervorechensky district of Vladivostok is opening a criminal case against Dmitry Barmakin. The investigator authorizes a search at the place of residence of Dmitry Barmakin in the city of Nakhodka - in the apartment of his wife's grandmother. (Dmitry Barmakin moved from Crimea to Nakhodka to take care of her, as well as his sick mother-in-law.)

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    July 28, 2018

    At 7 a.m., a group of armed masked men burst into the home of a 90-year-old woman who is visiting the Barmakins. The spouses were detained and taken to Vladivostok. Yelena was released, threatening that she "will be next" and "will go under arrest after her husband." Dmitriy was charged under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of an extremist organization). Dmitry is suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. He was prosecuted and detained for 48 hours.

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    July 30, 2018

    The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok chooses a measure of restraint for Dmitry Barmakin in the form of detention for 2 months.

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    August 1, 2018
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    September 25, 2018

    The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the period of detention of Dmitry Barmakin for 1 month.

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    01.10.2018, 02.10.2018, 03.10.2018, 08.10.2018, 09.10.2018

    The investigator summons local residents suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses for interrogation and conducts other investigative actions. During confrontations with Ekaterina Petrova, believers learn that she, on the instructions of the special services, secretly filmed her conversations about faith in God.

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    October 26, 2018

    The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the term of Dmitry Barmakin's detention for another 1 month.

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    November 20, 2018

    The case is transferred from the investigator Tarasenko G.Y. to the investigator Kimizhuk S.V.

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    November 26, 2018

    The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the term of Dmitry Barmakin's detention for another 1 month.

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    December 24, 2018

    The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the term of Dmitry Barmakin's detention for another 1 month.

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    January 24, 2019

    The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the term of Dmitry Barmakin's detention for another 1 month.

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    February 21, 2019

    Dmitry Barmakin was notified of the end of the investigation and the beginning of familiarization with the materials of the criminal case in accordance with Article 217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation.

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    February 22, 2019

    The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the term of Dmitry Barmakin's detention for another 1 month.

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    March 26, 2019

    Despite the end of the investigation, the Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the period of detention of Dmitry Barmakin for another 1 month.

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    April 26, 2019

    Despite the end of the investigation, the Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the period of detention of Dmitry Barmakin for another 1 month. The believer has been in custody for 9 months.

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    June 13, 2019

    Acting District Prosecutor V. Varavenko signed the indictment. The case will go to court.

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    June 26, 2019

    In the Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok, chaired by Judge Stanislav Salnikov, hearings begin on charges of Dmitry Barmakin of continuing the activities of an extremist organization. The judge rejects a number of defense motions, including the termination of the criminal case and the return of the case to the prosecutor.

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    July 5, 2019

    Court hearing. The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok extends the term of Dmitry Barmakin's detention for another 6 months, citing the severity of the "crime against the foundations of the constitutional order and state security." The believer has been in jail for 343 days. The total period of detention after 6 months will reach 503 days.

    The hearings are scheduled for August 30 and September 30, 2019.

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    August 30, 2019

    Three witnesses who are fellow believers of the defendant and therefore potential suspects in the case were summoned to court. After receiving explanations of their rights and possible consequences, the witnesses refused to testify and the proposed lawyers.

    The next hearing is scheduled for September 13, and the questioning of witnesses will continue.

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    September 13, 2019

    Interrogation of 6 witnesses, including Dmitry Barmakin's wife, Elena. The judge again explains to them that they are suspected persons as participants in the religious meetings that Barmakin is accused of organizing. Everyone has the right to refuse to testify and to have appointed lawyers. Elena Barmakina explains that the search was carried out in the apartment of her grandmother, where she and her husband were visiting; The books seized during the search belonged to the owner of the apartment. She described the personality of Dmitry, in the rest she used Article 51 of the Constitution.

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    September 20, 2019

    None of the witnesses appeared for questioning. The testimonies of three witnesses who previously used Article 51 (did not appear for repeated summonses to the court) are announced.

    The next meetings are scheduled for October 11 and 18.

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    October 11, 2019

    The court interrogates FSB operative Gaifullin, who explains that Jehovah's Witnesses can practice their religion, since no one forbade it.

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    October 18, 2019

    The court releases Dmitriy Barmakin from custody. He spent 447 days in jail. The prison sentence has been replaced by the prohibition of certain actions.

    Agent provocateur Petrova, recruited by the FSB to attend meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses, is interrogated. Detective Gaifullin is present during the interrogation, stands behind the witness. The prosecution witness is tense and clearly biased against the believers. Nevertheless, Petrova testifies that Dmitry Barmakin never called for extremism. She did not receive any threats. The Supreme Court did not prohibit the Jehovah's Witnesses' creeds or their joint meetings.

    The next meeting is scheduled for December 6, 2019.

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    May 15, 2020

    The Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok resumes hearings in the case of Dmitry Barmakin. The presiding judge is Stanislav Salnikov. The defense expresses its comments on the translation of the recordings of the services with the participation of Barmakin into Russian (the services were held in English). The translator explains that while working on the transcripts, she used the online resources Academic and Wikipedia, as well as the official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. The defense declares the inadmissibility of this transfer as evidence of Barmakin's guilt. The court rejects this application. The prosecution files a petition for the appointment of a comprehensive examination, the lawyers object. The next court hearings are scheduled for June 5, 19, 26, 2020.

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    June 5, 2020 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Referee: Stanislav Salnikov. Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai (Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Uralskaya str., 4).

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    June 17, 2020

    Stanislav Salnikov, judge of the Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai, decides to send a request to the Russian Federal Center for Forensic Examination under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation (RFTSSE) in order to attract a religious scholar. The only question of the court is which religious denomination the worship services belong to, the translation of the program of which is in the case file. The prosecution and defense also submit their questions for inclusion in the court's request. The next meeting is scheduled for July 17, 2020.

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    December 18, 2020

    The judge of the Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok, Stanislav Salnikov, returns it to the prosecutor a year and a half after the start of the consideration of the criminal case.

    The reason for this was that it was impossible to establish the extremist orientation of the defendant's actions from the text of the indictment. The events of the crime are described by the prosecutor vaguely, without specifying the motives, but contain only a description of religious rites. The ruling states that freedom of religion is the constitutional right of Dmitry Barmakin as a citizen of the Russian Federation. The Court also took into account and applied the provisions of national legislation that did not contradict international standards.

    The measure of restraint in the form of a ban on certain actions remains unchanged.

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    April 20, 2021

    Judge of the Primorsky Regional Court Inga Korolkova considers the appeal of the state prosecutor against the decision of Judge Stanislav Salnikov to return the case to the prosecutor and satisfies the appeal of the prosecutor, returning the case to Judge Salnikov for consideration.

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    June 4, 2021

    The defendant petitions for the involvement of Ekaterina Elbakyan as a specialist in religious studies.

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    July 1, 2021

    The judge refuses the prosecutor to challenge the specialist in religious studies Ekaterina Elbakyan. However, the court grants the prosecutor's request to summon the religious scholar Rodionova to the next court hearing.

    The judge refuses to soften the measure of restraint.

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    August 27, 2021

    The judge examines the opinion of religious scholar Ekaterina Elbakyan. The prosecutor withdraws the petition to summon the religious scholar Rodionova.

    The defense file a motion to postpone the hearing to familiarize itself with the expert's opinion and prepare for the provision of evidence.

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    October 1, 2021

    The defense shall present evidence to the court.

    Dmitry Barmakin testifies to the court.

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    November 12, 2021 Final statement Prosecutor requested punishment

    During the debate, the prosecutor asks for Dmitry Barmakin to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 9 years and restriction of liberty for 1 year.

    During the debate, the believer's lawyers speak, Dmitry himself utters the last word, emphasizing that he is not guilty of any extremist crimes.

    The court schedules the announcement of the verdict on November 22.

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    November 22, 2021 First Instance Sentence

    Stanislav Salnikov, judge of the Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok, acquits Dmitry Barmakin.

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    April 8, 2022 Court of Appeal

    The Primorsky Regional Court cancels the acquittal of Dmitry Barmakin and sends the case for a new trial to the court of first instance.

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    April 22, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The materials of the case against Dmitry Barmakin are submitted to the Pervorechensky District Court of Vladivostok for reconsideration in a new court. The case is assigned to Judge Larisa Smolenkova.

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    June 24, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    A preliminary hearing is underway. Barmakin filed a motion to exclude the translation of divine services from English into Russian as unreliable. The judge adjourns the hearing in order to obtain material evidence (disks with records of worship).

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    July 22, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The court session is held behind closed doors. The judge refuses to satisfy the petitions for the preparation of the protocol in parts, but allows the audio recording.

    The prosecutor reads out the charges. Dmitry Barmakin expresses his attitude to the prosecution and submits a petition to attach it to the case file. The petition is granted.

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    October 21, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Witnesses Elena Tsorn, Nina Astvatsaturova and Ekaterina Treguba are being interrogated. All of them use Article 51 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. At the previous hearing, witness Ludwig Katanaeva did the same.

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    November 18, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Dmitry draws the court's attention to the violations committed by the investigator in the commission of investigative actions.

    The court examines the written materials of the case.

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    December 16, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Interrogation of prosecution witness Ekaterina Petrova, who feigned an interest in the Bible and collected data on believers. She gives the names and addresses of known residents of Vladivostok who profess the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. She answers in the negative to the question whether she heard calls for violence against other people or for the overthrow of the constitutional order at religious meetings or personally from the defendant.

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    January 13, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Detective Y. N. Gaifullin is being interrogated. He expresses his opinion that the worship services recorded in the course of operational-search activities are a continuation of the activities of liquidated legal entities, and he regards the preaching activities of Jehovah's Witnesses as recruiting new members to a banned organization.

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    27.01.2023 — 12.04.2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The court devotes nine sessions to reviewing recordings of worship services in English. In addition, at the last of them, the case materials are announced, including the conclusions of linguists and religious scholars, and a witness for the defense is interrogated. The judge also refuses to attach the decision of the ECHR of June 07, 2022 to the case file.

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    April 18, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Dmitry reads out the written materials of the case. The defense files motions to exclude evidence that it considers inadmissible. The court does not satisfy them.

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    April 21, 2023 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The prosecutor asks for Dmitriy Barmakin 9 years of imprisonment in a colony and a year of additional restriction of freedom.

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    April 26, 2023 Final statement Closing arguments for the defense

    Dmytro Barmakin addresses the court with his last word.

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    April 27, 2023
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    May 29, 2023 Detention center

    Dmitry Barmakin is in pre-trial detention center No. 1 in the Primorsky Territory. He can write letters.

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    August 8, 2023 Court of Appeal Art. 282.2 (1)
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    December 18, 2023 Court of Cassation Art. 282.2 (1)
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    February 6, 2024 Second appeal Art. 282.2 (1) Deprivation of liberty