Chekhov, the building of the district administration. Photo source: Artem Svetlov / CC BY 2.0

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In Chekhov, Moscow region, searches and arrests for faith are taking place. Four are under house arrest

Moscow Region

On October 3, 2019, a wave of searches and detentions on the basis of religious affiliation began in the city of Chekhov (Moscow Region). At the moment, it is known that Zinaida Krutyakova, Konstantin Zherebtsov, Vitaly Nikiforov and Nikolai Yakovlev were sent under house arrest.

The measure of restraint against believers was chosen by the Babushkinsky District Court of Moscow on October 4, 2019. All four are accused of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. The believers intend to appeal against the unfair decision of the court, according to which the peaceful practice of religion is equated with a serious crime.

The details of the incident are being established.

Case of Nikiforov and Others in Chekhov

Case History
The criminal case initiated in September 2019 against Chekhov residents Yuri and Zinaida Krutyakov, Konstantin Zherebtsov and Vitaly Nikiforov was based on the testimony of an FSB officer who pretended to be interested in the Bible. On the night of October 3, 2019, security forces raided the believers’ homes with searches. Zherebtsov, Nikiforov and Krutyakova were placed under house arrest. Later, Yuriy was taken to the pre-trial detention center. There he stayed for 445 days; His eyesight deteriorated sharply. In January 2021, hearings began in the Chekhov City Court of the Moscow Region. The prosecutor requested a suspended sentence of 2 to 6 years for the four defendants. On May 24, Judge Iryna Pantela gave the believers a suspended sentence: Yuriy — 6 years, Zinaida — 2 years and 3 months, Konstantin — 2 years and 2 months, Vitaliy — 2 years. All were also given various probationary periods. On July 20, 2021, the Moscow Regional Court upheld the verdict, and on January 13, 2022, the cassation court did not satisfy the believers’ appeal.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Moscow Region
Suspected of:
According to the investigation he “discussed the purchase [by the FSB officer] of a tablet for subsequent downloading of prohibited literature, prayed to God Jehovah, and also informed about the circumstances of his acceptance of this faith” (from a criminal case order)
Court case number:
September 30, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Central Administration of the Investigative Commitee for the Moscow Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.2 (2), 282.2 (1.1)
Court case number:
1-31/2021 (1-380/2020)
Чеховский городской суд Московской области
Ирина Пантела
Case History