One of the detention centers in Primorye Territory

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

One of Jehovah's Witnesses Anton Virich Was Arrested in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. He Was Taken to a Detention Center 5,000 Kilometers From the Place of Arrest

Primorye Territory,   Krasnoyarsk Territory

On July 11, 2023, believer Anton Virich, 43, was detained in the city of Uzhur (Krasnoyarsk Territory). For 9 days, his whereabouts remained unknown. Friends found him in the Spassk-Dalniy detention center. He was accused of organizing the activity of an extremist organization.

The car, in which Anton and his wife were traveling, was stopped by the traffic police. He was taken to the police station. There, Virich was told that since February 11, 2022, he had been under a recognizance agreement, about which he knew nothing and had not received any notifications about it at his address. At the same time, the copy of the document shown to him did not indicate which particular location he could not leave. In the evening of the same day, Anton was taken to the Sharypovo police department, where he was searched and fingerprinted. Then the believer was placed in a special unit for detainees for 48 hours.

Later, the FSB officers informed Anton that he was accused of a crime under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the RF Criminal Code; they forced him into a car and drove him away in an unknown direction. As it turned out later, he was taken to Krasnoyarsk, then by plane to Khabarovsk, and after that—to Luchegorsk. Here, on July 14, the investigator drew up a protocol on detention and charged Virich, and the Pozharsky District Court of Primorye Territory decided to detain him for 30 days. On July 24, he was transferred to Detention Centre No. 4 in Spassk-Dalniy.

Anton Virich is one of the defendants in the case against Yuriy Ponomarenko and other believers from Luchegorsk. In total, 22 criminal cases have been initiated in Primorye Territory against 58 believers, 10 of which are in penal colonies and detention centers.

The case of Ponomarenko and others in Luchegorsk

Case History
In July 2021, Yuriy Ponomarenko’s house was searched in Luchegorsk. The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against him on suspicion of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. In November of the same year, as part of the Ponomarenko case, a new search was carried out - in the home of Oleg Sergeev. He was charged under the same article. In March 2022, 2 more defendants appeared in the case. Andrey Lyakhov and Nikolai Dikhtyar were charged with participation in the activities of an extremist organization. In June 2022, a criminal case against the believers went to court. In December 2023, the state prosecutor requested suspended sentences of 2 to 4 years for the believers, and in January 2024, the judge decided to resume the judicial investigation into the case.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Primorye Territory
Court case number:
July 16, 2021
Current case stage:
trial in Court of First Instance
Investigative Directorate for the city of Dalnerechensk 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 (2), 282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-6/2024 (1-22/2023; 1-197/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Пожарский районный суд Приморского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Михаил Атрошко
Case History