Photo: Alexey Khabarov

Unjust Verdicts

A Court in Porkhov Sentenced 46-year-old Aleksey Khabarov to 3 Years Suspended for Talking About Jehovah God

Pskov Region

On September 7, 2021, the judge of the Porkhovsky District Court of the Pskov Region, Valentina Sirotenko, sentenced Aleksey Khabarov to 3 years of suspended imprisonment with a 2-year probationary period. The court recognized as extremism Aleksey's peaceful meetings with other Jehovah's Witnesses. The believer intends to appeal the verdict.

Aleksey, a teacher by profession, is concerned that his good name has been tarnished by accusations of extremism. Speaking in court with the last word, he said: “I was brought up in a simple village family: my mother is a rural history teacher, and my father is a fish protection inspector. They never instilled anything in me that looked like extremism. They taught me to respect the opinion of others, respect authority, be peaceful and achieve everything with my work. " After that, he emphasized that it was the Bible that helped him become even better - "learn to truly love others."

On March 28, 2019, the investigator for especially important cases Irina Pravdivtseva from the FSB of Russia in the Pskov region opened a criminal case against Aleksey Khabarov. On April 3, 2019, in the city of Porkhov, searches were carried out in the homes of believers, among whom was Khabarov. After interrogation, they took a written undertaking not to leave the place.

After more than a year of investigation, the investigation transferred the criminal case to the prosecutor's office, but the department found violations in the materials and returned them for revision. Among other things, the prosecutor noted that the investigator had not identified the citizens who were declared witnesses to the crime allegedly committed by Khabarov.

On September 3, 2020, the case went to court. During the court hearings, not a single victim was presented, as well as evidence that the believer is an extremist. Nevertheless, the prosecutor requested that Aleksey Khabarov be sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in a general regime colony. In sentencing, the judge reduced this period by six months and decided to consider the sentence suspended. Among the additional restrictions imposed on the believer for the duration of the punishment is the prohibition to leave the area in which he lives.

Back in November 2019, the name of Aleksey Khabarov was added to the Rosfinmonitoring list, which led to the blocking of his bank cards. The recognizance not to leave strongly hindered Aleksey from earning a living, since he constantly had to go to court asking for permission to leave the city. Due to severe stress, the believer's chronic illnesses worsened.

Aleksey Khabarov became the second Jehovah's Witness convicted of his faith in the Pskov region. In June 2020, Gennady Shpakovsky was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison, but the court of appeal replaced his sentence with a suspended sentence.

Russian and foreign leaders and organizations unanimously condemn the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. According to Vladimir Ryakhovsky, Honorary Advocate of Russia, member of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, “This (violation of fundamental human rights - ed.) Always began with Jehovah's Witnesses, and then affected everyone. You can say, "Take good care of Jehovah's Witnesses." Because it will all turn against the rest. "

Case of Khabarov in Porkhov

Case History
In 2019, the FSB opened a criminal case against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Porkhov. Security forces conducted searches and interrogated local believers. As a result, Aleksey Khabarov was accused of extremism. During the court hearings, all witnesses, including the FSB counter-terrorism officer, gave Khabarov positive characteristics. In September 2021, the court gave him a 3-year suspended sentence. The appeal overturned this decision, and in January 2022, a retrial of the case began in a new court. The prosecutor again asked Khabarov for 3.5 years in prison, but the court acquitted him. In November 2022, the appeal again sent the case for a new—third in a row—consideration in the same court. This time the believer was sentenced to 2.5 years in a penal colony. He was taken into custody in the courtroom. In December 2023, the appeal slightly changed this decision, reducing the period by 2 months.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Pskov Region
Suspected of:
"deliberately, in accordance with their religious beliefs and the goals of the Organization, pursuing the goal of spreading the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses in the territory of the city of Porkhov, Pskov region, organized, directed and participated in the activities of its structural unit "Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Porkhov".
Court case number:
March 28, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Federal Security Service of Russia in the Pskov Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-28/2023 (1-120/2022)
Порховский районный суд Псковской области
Капустина Наталья
Case History