Illustrative photo

Criminal trial

Another Witness of Jehovah Was Sent to Jail. New Criminal Case Near the Chinese Border in the Town of Lesozavodsk

Primorye Territory

Yevgeniy Grinenko, 49, was placed in custody for two months until July 12, 2020. A criminal case has been instituted against this peaceful believer, charging “organization of an extremist organization” prohibited under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. At the time of his arrest, he lived in the town of Lesozavodsk with his elderly parents. Searches in at least four homes of local believers took place on May 12, 2020. Law enforcers entered the homes of peaceful believers under the pretext of verifying compliance with the self-isolation regime, thus exposing innocent people, including the elderly, with the deadly threat of infection with the COVID-19 virus.

Searches of at least 4 homes of local believers took place on May 12, 2020. Employees of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, with the support of the Border Department of the Federal Security Service of Russia in Primorye Territory, entered the homes of peaceful believers under the pretext of checking compliance with the self-isolation regime - exposing innocent Far Easterners, including the elderly, to the mortal threat of infection with the COVID-19 virus.

It is known that searches were carried out at 71-year-old G.P., 64-year-old G.K., at the family of 44-year-old Sergey Kobelev, as well as at Yevgeny Grinenko and his elderly parents. By arranging searches and interrogations during the coronavirus pandemic, this is not the first time that the investigating authorities have put the life and health of citizens at risk. Peaceful believers sit at home, obediently observing the regime of self-isolation, according to the recommendations of the Russian government. However, groups of government officials invade their homes and, accompanied by witnesses, rummage through their belongings, take them out for interrogations and place them in pre-trial detention centers.

During the searches, electronic media, bank cards and other personal belongings, such as postcards, were seized, which mentioned the name of God, Jehovah, which was not prohibited by any court.

Sergey Kobelev was detained at about 8 a.m. by FSB officers at work and taken home, where a search had already been conducted in the presence of his wife, minor son and elderly father. Later, the believer was taken to the Investigative Committee for interrogation. After a search and interrogation, he was released. The detention lasted a total of 11 hours.

According to the investigation, the accused Yevgeny Grinenko "carried out actions of an organizational nature to convene and hold meetings, and also took a direct part in the meetings aimed at continuing the activities of a religious association recognized by the court as extremist." This accusation is directly related to the unjust decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to liquidate all 396 organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses. Legal scholars and human rights activists around the world unanimously condemn Russia's actions against Jehovah's Witnesses.

The case of Grinenko and Others in Lesozavodsk

Case history
In May 2020, the investigation initiated a criminal case against Yevgeniy Grinenko, a resident of Lesozavodsk. He was accused of organizing the activity of an extremist community. On the same day, the homes of Yevgeniy and three other families were searched, and the believer himself was arrested. Two days later, he was placed in a detention center, where he spent almost 2 months, and then he was transferred to house arrest. Later, new defendants appeared in the case: Svetlana Yefremova, Sergey Kobelev and his mother Galina, whose case was later made into a separate proceeding. In September 2021, the case of Grinenko and the other believers went to court. The case was based on the testimony of an undercover FSB agent, Vladislav Mrachko, who secretly recorded his conversations about the Bible with the believers. In February 2023, the court concluded that the believers were guilty and gave Grinenko and Kobelev a 6-year suspended sentence and Svetlana Yefremova a 3-year suspended sentence. The court of appeal upheld the verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Primorye Territory
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, "assisted E. A. Grinenko in organizing meetings of the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses in Lesozavodsk, acted as a coordinator."
Court case number:
May 12, 2020
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Forestry Directorate for Lesozavodsk of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Primorsky Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-35/2022 (1-316/2021)
Court of First Instance:
Лесозаводский районный суд Приморского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Сергей Яровенко