Valentina Samus

Unjust Verdicts

Regional Court Upholds Suspended Sentence for Bible Talks for Elderly Believer from Kostroma

Kostroma Region

On February 21, 2024, Valentina Samus, 74, appeared before the Court of Appeal for her faith. The Collegium of the Kostroma Regional Court approved the sentence of the first instance - 6 years suspended. The believer can appeal this decision to the court of cassation.

According to Samus, her actions were peaceful, and the charge does not contain any indication of any calls for violence or religious hatred and enmity. "The court found me guilty not for committing a crime, but for my religious beliefs, for my peaceful and law-abiding way of life, for a sincere desire to selflessly help other people, talking about what I myself learned from the Bible," Valentina said in her final statement. "In fact, the court forbade me to practice the unforbidden religion of Jehovah's Witnesses and to worship God according to biblical canons."

In the Kostroma region, four of Jehovah's Witnesses have already been convicted for their religious views. One of them, Dmitriy Terebilov, is serving his sentence in a strict regime colony.

The case of Samus in Kostroma

Case History
In March 2022, searches were carried out in Kostroma against four women, the eldest of whom, Valentina Samus, was 72 years old at that time. The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against her under the article on participation in the activities of an extremist organization. In December of the same year, she was charged with organizing this activity. The reason was the hidden records of worship and conversations about the Bible, which is not prohibited by law. In March 2023, the case went to court. The prosecutor requested seven years in prison for the elderly woman. In December, the court handed down a sentence: six years suspended. In February 2024, the appeal upheld this decision.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Kostroma Region
Suspected of:
"organized and took part in a religious meeting - a collective worship service remotely via video conferencing, consisting of sequential actions: reading prayers to Jehovah God and singing songs from special texts of the religious teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, watching videos on religious topics, quoting articles from the religious literature of Jehovah's Witnesses, reading what was read, practicing ministry skills" (from the decision on involvement in as an accused)
Court case number:
February 17, 2022
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Kostroma Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
Court of First Instance:
Димитровский районный суд г. Костромы
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Мария Заикина
Case History