Updated: March 2, 2024
Name: Galka Yuriy Yuriyevich
Date of Birth: October 28, 1975
Current status: Defendant
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Time spent in prison: 1 day in a temporary detention facility, 141 day in a pre-trial detention
Current restrictions: Prohibition of certain actions

Biography

On July 13, 2020 more than 110 searches of Jehovah's Witnesses' homes were conducted in the Voronezh region. Ten men aged 24 to 56 years were sent to the pre-trial detention center. Several believers were tortured. Among them was Yuriy Galka.

Yuriy was born in 1975 in the Ukrainian city of Marganets. Yuri is the oldest child in a family with many children. He has a sister and two brothers. When the boy was 2 years old, the family moved to Tajikistan. As a child Yuriy liked to read books, was fond of shooting and karate.

While the young man was studying at the Russian-Tajik University in philology, there was a civil war in Tajikistan. Many families, including Yuriy's one, were starving. To help his family, he combined his studies with a job as a journalist for a local television and radio company, as well as an elevator operator and a construction worker.

At that difficult time, Yuri became acquainted with the biblical teachings professed by Jehovah's Witnesses. The truth from the Bible touched his heart. As a child, he often participated in fights, but through the study of the Holy Scriptures, he learned to love peace.

After graduation, the young man moved to Voronezh, and later his whole family joined him. Here Yuriy had to learn more than one specialty: security guard, loader, tiler. Now he is engaged in tile and mosaic laying.

In 2009, Yuriy married Nadezhda. Modesty of the young man, his tactfulness, reliability, humor and self-esteem attracted the girl. Together they bring up Nadezhda's daughter, encouraging the teenager to develop spiritual values. As a family, they love to spend time with friends, including in nature.

Although Yuriy's family and colleagues do not share his religious views, they are bewildered by the prosecution of a believer. Wife and daughter miss their husband and father very much and wait for him at home. The believer himself is convinced that justice will eventually be restored.

Case history

In one day, July 13, 2020, 110 searches were carried out in 7 settlements of the Voronezh Region — a record-breaking operation against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. Five believers reported torture by the security forces. Ten men aged 24 to 56 years were charged by the Investigative Committee with organizing extremist activities and sent them to prison, where most of them were held for almost 5 months. The events in Voronezh caused a wide public outcry: the EU countries, as well as the United Kingdom and the United States, expressed regret and bewilderment in connection with the incident. The believers themselves do not admit guilt in extremism and emphasize that, as Christians, they respect the authorities and peacefully practice their religion in accordance with constitutional law. Consideration of the case in court began in December 2021. Believers face up to 10 years in prison.