Case of Degtyarenko in Vyazemsky

Case History

In October 2020, the Khabarovsk Territory FSB opened a criminal case against 29-year-old Ilya Degtyarenko from the city of Vyazemsky for his “stable religious views.” FSB investigator Nemtsev, head of the local FSB department Alexei Svetachev and armed riot police conducted a rigorous 7-hour search in the apartment of the Degtyarenko spouses, knocking Ilya to the floor and twisting his hands behind his back. The believer was imprisoned in a pre-trial detention center for two weeks. Then, for more than three months, he was under a ban on certain actions and another two years under a written undertaking not to leave. In May 2021, the case was sent to court, and in September 2022, Judge Irina Loginova acquitted Ilya Degtyarenko. However, the prosecutor’s office appealed this decision, and the appeal overturned the verdict, returning the case for a new trial to the same court with a different composition. In August 2023, a guilty verdict was passed in the case - 2.5 years of suspended imprisonment.

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    October 28, 2020

    Investigator of the Investigation Department of the FSB Directorate for the Khabarovsk Territory S. Nemtsev initiates a criminal case against a 29-year-old resident of the city of Vyazemsky Ilya Degtyarenko under Part 2 of Article 282.2 (participation in a banned organization). The investigation calls Degtyarenko's meetings with fellow believers and his "stable religious views" a "crime." All this, according to the investigator, indicates that the believer is a member of a prohibited legal entity.

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    October 29, 2020

    In Vyazemsky, starting at 7 am, a new search is underway. The security forces broke into Ilya Degtyarenko's home, knocked him to the floor, wrung his hands and, stepping on his back with his foot in dirty shoes, read out his rights. Among the 7 operatives are Nemtsev, the head of the FSB department in the Vyazemsky district Alexei Svetachev, two armed riot policemen, as well as the prosecutor of the Vyazemsky district Ilya Bludov.

    Within 9 hours, law enforcement officers seize electronic devices, documents and bank cards. The search is accompanied by vulgar statements and foul language on the part of one of the security officials against the religious beliefs of the owners of the apartment.

    Ilya Degtyarenko was detained and placed in a temporary detention center in Khabarovsk. He is suspected of participating in religious meetings with fellow believers. Ilya's wife was given a summons for interrogation as a witness.

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    October 30, 2020

    Judge of the Central District Court of Khabarovsk Natalia Vladimirova decides to take Ilya Degtyarenko into custody for 1 month and 28 days, that is, until December 28, 2020. The arrest was demanded by the investigation, claiming that the believer could hide only because he had a passport. The believer is placed in SIZO-1 in Khabarovsk.

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    November 11, 2020

    Appeal hearing in the Khabarovsk Regional Court chaired by Irina Koroleva. The judge is interested in whether the religion of the accused is obsessive, whether he is engaged in terrorist activities, whether he incites ethnic hatred. Degtyarenko explains that none of this applies to him, which is confirmed by the investigator. The lawyer reads out the positive characteristics of the accused. It becomes obvious that the accusation is based on a belief in the truth of religion.

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    November 12, 2020

    The hearing continues with the new investigator and prosecutor. The Khabarovsk Regional Court cancels the decision of the lower court on the detention of the believer and releases him from the pre-trial detention center under the prohibition of certain actions. After 14 days in custody, Ilya meets with his family again.

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    February 26, 2021

    D. S. Pozdnyakov, senior investigator-criminalist of the investigation department of the FSB of Russia in the Khabarovsk Territory, charges Ilya Degtyarenko with committing a crime under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - participation in the activities of a religious organization banned by the court.

    On the same day, he cancels the believer's measure of restraint in the form of a ban on performing certain actions. Tracking equipment (bracelet) is removed from Degtyarenko. A new measure of restraint has not yet been chosen.

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    May 11, 2021 Case went to court

    The case is submitted to the Vyazemsky District Court of the Khabarovsk Territory for consideration by Judge Irina Loginova.

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    September 19, 2022 First Instance Sentence Art. 282.2 (2) Acquittal

    Judge of the Vyazemsky District Court of the Khabarovsk Territory Irina Loginova acquits Ilya Degtyarenko.

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    December 8, 2022 Court of Appeal

    The court of appeal, on the recommendation of the prosecutor, shall cancel the acquittal and send the criminal case for a new trial to the same court.

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    December 26, 2022 Case went to court

    The case goes to the Vyazemsky District Court of the Khabarovsk Territory for reconsideration. Judge Tatyana Chistova.

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    August 28, 2023 First Instance Sentence

    Judge of the Vyazemsky District Court of the Khabarovsk Territory Tatyana Chistova convicts Ilya Degtyarenko and sentences him to 2,5 years of suspended imprisonment with a probationary period of 3 years and restriction of liberty for 6 months. The judge also decided to confiscate the seized equipment.