The case of Kabanov in Zelenogorsk

Case History

Siberian Aleksandr Kabanov faced criminal prosecution for believing in God at the end of December 2019. Then a series of searches took place in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Zelenogorsk. The believer spent a day behind bars, after which he was released. He was accused of “holding weekly religious meetings, distributing religious… attitudes and the involving of new adherents”, which the investigator of the Investigative Committee equated with participation in the activities of an extremist organization. The case has been pending in court since February 2021. The result of the first trial was a guilty verdict - 2 years suspended. However, the appeal overturned this decision and returned the case to the prosecutor. A new trial began in June 2023 and ended with another return of the case to the prosecutor’s office. This time, the appellate court did not agree with such a decision - the case was sent for yet another consideration in the city court.

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    December 21, 2019

    Investigator for the Department of Internal Affairs of the Rybinsk Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Khakassia, Major of Justice Ufimtseva Y. A. initiates a criminal case against believers under Part 2, Article 282.2.

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    December 26, 2019

    In the closed city of Zelenogorsk (Krasnoyarsk Territory), a series of searches are being conducted in the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses. At least 8 people, including minors, were interrogated. Aleksandr Kabanov, 59, was detained and charged with Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code. The case is being investigated by the head of the Investigation Department for the closed city of Zelenogorsk, Colonel of Justice Oleg Kolosov.

    According to the materials of the investigation, the believer organized in Zelenogorsk "the activities of the liquidated local religious organization Jehovah's Witnesses of Zelenogorsk, which was previously part of the structure of the religious organization UC SI banned in the territory of the Russian Federation."

    Aleksandr Kabanov and 4 other believers are interrogated at the FSB department.

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    December 27, 2019 Search

    The judge of the Zelenogorsk Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, O. L. Moiseenkova, makes a decision to refuse to satisfy the investigator's petition to elect a preventive measure for Alexander Kabanov in the form of detention. The believer was released after a day in the temporary detention facility.

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    December 31, 2019

    The judge of the Zelenogorsk Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Dmitry Uskov, makes decisions on the recognition of the lawfulness of searches at 6 addresses.

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    January 23, 2020
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    April 21, 2021

    The prosecutor voices the essence of the criminal case - the participation of Alexander Kabanov in a banned organization. Prosecution witnesses are being questioned. According to their testimonies, there are no signs of illegal actions in Alexander's actions.

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    June 29, 2021

    During the hearing, volumes of the criminal case are read out, in particular, transcripts of records of divine services. It was expected that a secret witness under the name "mother" would be questioned at the hearing, but he did not appear.

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    August 4, 2021

    A secret witness is being interrogated. The lawyer asks whether he heard from Kabanov calls for incitement to religious discord, refusal of military service and medical care, whether he encouraged the severance of family and family ties, and whether he spoke disrespectfully about state bodies? The witness answers all questions in the negative.

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    October 12, 2021

    Experts are being questioned in court. Linguist Anna Teterina and an expert in psychology conclude from the recording of the service that they were led by Kabanov. The lawyer draws attention to the fact that there is no sample of the defendant's voice in the case file.

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    December 1, 2021 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The prosecutor requests a punishment for the believer in the form of 2 years and 6 months of imprisonment in a general regime colony without additional types of punishments. Aleksandr makes his last word and does not admit guilt in extremism.

    The verdict is scheduled to be announced on December 6.

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    December 6, 2021 Return of the case to prosecutor First Instance Sentence

    Judge of the Zelenogorsk City Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory Marina Petukhova returns the case of 61-year-old Alexander Kabanov to the stage of judicial investigation.

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    March 25, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Experts who examined the defendant's voice samples are being interrogated.

    The judge satisfies the request of the prosecutor and appoints a re-examination. Its goal is to find out whether Kabanov took part in conversations, the recordings of which are presented on discs.

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    August 5, 2022
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    December 27, 2022
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    June 26, 2023 Case went to court Retrial (court of first instance) Elderly

    The case of Aleksandr Kabanov is again submitted to the court of first instance. It was appointed to the chairman of the court, Stanislav Doronin.

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    December 1, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance Interrogation

    Interrogation of three witnesses. They inform the court that Kabanov did not call for disrespect for state power, refusal of military service and refusal of blood transfusions.

    The prosecutor reads out the case materials from the first two volumes, which mention the topics of child-rearing, obedience to authority and water baptism. He also voices the order of worship.

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    December 8, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The prosecutor continues to read out the materials of the case concerning the holding of international and regional congresses (worship), the procedure for exclusion from the assembly. The search protocols and the list of seized items are also announced.

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    January 30, 2024 Prosecutor requested punishment Closing arguments for the defense Hearing in a court of the first instance Final statement

    The prosecutor requests 2.5 years in a general regime colony for the defendant.

    Kabanov gives his last word. He draws attention to the fact that the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation did not ban the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses and that believers have the right to continue to practice their religion, according to article 28 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

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    February 1, 2024 Return of the case to prosecutor

    The court again returns the case of Aleksandr Kabanov to the prosecutor. This is the third time that a court verdict has returned the believer's case to the previous stage.

    According to the ruling, Kabanov is charged with holding worship services and disseminating "information related to biblical truths and prophecies." As the judge noted, the description of these actions in the case file "contains, in fact, a description of the confession of religion." At the same time, there are no specific indications of how such activities are contrary to the law and are related to the continuation of the activities of the liquidated legal entity.

    In this regard, the court considers it impossible to pass a verdict on the basis of this indictment and justifies its decision by the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of June 28, 2011.