Served Sentences

Rustam Seidkuliev Served His Sentence for His Faith and Was Released From the Penal Colony in Saratov

Saratov Region

On April 7, 2023, Rustam Seidkuliev was released from a penal colony in the Saratov Region. As he walked out, he was met by his wife and dozens of friends who came to support the believer.

In January 2020, a criminal case was initiated against Rustam Seidkuliev under the article on participation in the activities of an extremist organization. On May 20, 2021, the Leninskiy District Court found him guilty and sentenced him to two and a half years in a general regime penal colony. Later, the Saratov Regional Court reduced this term by two months.

During his criminal prosecution, Rustam spent two and a half months in a pre-trial detention center, more than seven months under house arrest and one year and eight months in a penal colony. Just before the release, the believer said that he was in good physical shape and in good spirits. “Since the start of my term, I have received more than 3,000 letters,” Rustam said. “Unfortunately, due to the busy work schedule, it was not possible to answer all of them, but I am very grateful for each of them and for every prayer.”

In the colony, the believer worked in a carpentry shop, and in his free time he read books from the library and exercised. According to Rustam, in general, the administration of the colony treated him with respect.

The ruling of the ECHR dated June 7, 2022, which fully exonerated Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, states that “the imposition of criminal sanctions for manifestation of religious beliefs amounts to an interference with the exercise of the right to freedom of religion...” (§ 264)

Case of Seidkuliev in Saratov

Case History
In January 2020, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Rustam Seidkuliev. He was accused of extremism for reading and discussing the Bible. Two weeks later, the police detained a believer in a shopping center in Adler. He was transported to the city of Saratov and placed under house arrest for seven months. In March 2021, Seidkuliev’s case came to court. Two months later he was found guilty and sentenced to two and a half years in a general regime colony. The regional court reduced this period by two months. The Court of Cassation approved this decision. Seidkuliev served his sentence in Penal Colony-33 in Saratov. During this time, the FSB accomplished the revocation of his Russian citizenship. In April 2023, the believer was released from the colony, and in September he was deported to Turkmenistan.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Saratov Region
Court case number:
January 29, 2020
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate for the Leninsky District, Saratov, Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Saratov Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Ленинский районный суд г. Саратова
Андрей Ефимов
Case History