Criminal trial

The Cassation Court Returned to the Appeal Stage the Case of Yuriy Savelyev, Who Is Serving a Sentence in a Colony for His Faith in Jehovah God

Novosibirsk Region

On November 24, 2021, the Eighth General Jurisdiction Court of Cassation canceled the appeal ruling against 67-year-old Yuriy Savelyev and returned the case to the stage of appeal consideration in a different composition of the court. The believer's defense hopes for his acquittal.

Back in December 2020, the Leninskiy District Court of Novosibirsk sentenced Yuriy Savelyev to 6 years in prison. The believer appealed against the verdict in the Novosibirsk Regional Court. The appeal upheld the the term of imprisonment, but changed the additional punishment, which imposed restrictions on Savelyev's activities after serving the term. In response, the deputy prosecutor of the Novosibirsk region, M.I. Askerov, filed a cassation appeal, demanding that Savelyev be deprived of the "right to engage in activities related to leadership and participation in public and religious organizations." This submission was satisfied by the cassation panel of judges consisting of E.V. Starchikova, E.V. Volkova and O.V. Plastinina.

Since the sentence to Savelyev is now considered not to have entered into force, Yuriy cannot apply for a mitigation of punishment or ask for parole. The believer has been behind bars for over 3 years.

The appellate instance in the new composition may issue an acquittal in the Savelyev case in connection with the new version of the ruling of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of June 28, 2011, which states that joint services in themselves do not constitute a crime under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which the security forces use to organize the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses. These amendments have already been applied in the criminal case of Dmitriy Barmakin from the Primorsky Territory, and he was fully acquitted.

Case of Savelyev in Novosibirsk

Case History
Six years in a penal colony—this was the harsh sentence that 66-year-old Yuri Savelyev from the city of Novosibirsk received for his faith. The man was arrested in November 2018 during searches in the homes of believers. He was in pre-trial detention until his sentencing in December 2020. The appellate court, and later the cassation court, upheld the verdict. In May 2021, Yuriy Savelyev was transferred to Penal Colony No. 5 in the city of Rubtsovsk, Altai Territory. In the colony, the administration, with no legitimate basis, tried to force the believer into treatment for alcoholism. On far-fetched grounds, the elderly man spent about nine months in harsh conditions of detention. Yuriy was released in July 2023.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Novosibirsk Region
Suspected of:
according to the investigation he unlawfully organised the activity of the religious organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city of Novosibirsk (with reference to the decision of the Russian Supreme Court on the liquidation of all 396 registered organisations of Jehovah’s Witnesses)
Court case number:
November 7, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Novosibirsk Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
Ленинский районный суд Новосибирска
Case History