Discussion board 18: CRIMEA: 23 fines underneath Russia’s “anti-missionary” legal guidelines in 2021


Prosecutors are recognized to have introduced 23 circumstances towards people underneath Russia’s “anti-missionary” legal guidelines in 2021 in Russian-occupied Crimea. All 22 people (one twice) have been discovered responsible and fined. Most have been fined about 5 days’ common native wages every, although 4 acquired bigger fines. 4 have been Imams focused for main conferences for worship in mosques exterior the framework of the Russian-backed Crimean Muslim Board. Most of the fines adopted raids on locations of worship throughout conferences for worship.

Justice of the Peace’s Courts, Simferopol

krymr.org (RFE/RL)

(For a full record of recognized 2021 “missionary exercise” prosecutions, see under.)

Justice of the Peace’s Courts handed down the fines underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary exercise”). In a single case, a non-Russian citizen is thought to have been punished in Russian-occupied Crimea in 2021 underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 5 (“Foreigners conducting missionary exercise”).

On 24 Could 2021, Russian FSB safety service officers and Prosecutor’s Workplace officers mounted a joint raid on a mosque in Crimea’s central Simferopol District, which surrounds the regional capital. They discovered Stated Akhmad Asanov main prayers “with out a doc from the governing physique of a spiritual organisation confirming his authority to conduct missionary exercise within the title of the non secular authority”. A Choose fined him 5 days’ common native wages the next month (see under).

Assistant Prosecutor Olga Kushnerova introduced the case towards Imam Asadov. “I will not give any feedback by cellphone,” she instructed Discussion board 18. “The whole lot I did was inside the parameters of the legislation and the duties assigned to me underneath the legislation.” She refused to debate why a person must be punished for main worship in a spiritual group (see under).

Some communities have confronted a number of fines. 4 circumstances in early 2021 focused members of Home of the Potter Protestant Church within the port metropolis of Sevastopol after prosecutors picked them out as dwelling group leaders on a social media submit by a church member. Church members had confronted comparable prosecutions in earlier years (see under).

In June 2021, a Choose fined Imam Yusuf Ashirov. Throughout a raid on the unbiased Yukhary-Jami mosque within the southern Crimean city of Alushta, officers discovered him main Friday prayers with out permission from the Russian state-backed Crimean Muslim Board. Prosecutors in Alushta introduced an analogous case towards him in 2020 (see under).

Such prosecutions underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 have continued in 2022 (see under).

Justice of the Peace’s Courts in Crimea are additionally recognized to have heard 10 circumstances in 2021 underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 3 towards non secular communities which did not show their full official authorized title on web postings, on literature or exterior the place the place they meet for worship.

Russia’s unlawful March 2014 annexation of Crimea just isn’t recognised by Ukraine or internationally.

Penalties for ill-defined “missionary” exercise

The 23 Russian Administrative Code circumstances in Crimea in 2021 have been all introduced underneath wide-ranging and ill-defined “anti-missionary” Russian authorized adjustments made in July 2016. The Russian authorities instantly imposed these punishments in Crimea, which they occupied in March 2014.

Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 punishes “Russians conducting missionary exercise”. This incurs a high quality of 5,000 to 50,000 Roubles. For organisations (authorized entities), the high quality is 100,000 to 1 million Roubles. All non secular communities which aren’t registered, and so don’t have any authorized standing, should notify the authorities of their existence and supply the names and addresses of all their members, in addition to addresses the place any conferences happen. Their members are subsequently topic to prosecution as people.

Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 5 punishes “Foreigners conducting missionary exercise”. This incurs a high quality of 30,000 to 50,000 Roubles with the potential for deportation.

Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 3 punishes the “Implementation of actions by a spiritual organisation with out indicating its official full title, together with the issuing or distribution, inside the framework of missionary exercise, of literature and printed, audio, and video materials with out a label bearing this title, or with an incomplete or intentionally false label”. This incurs a high quality of 30,000 to 50,000 Roubles and the confiscation of any literature or different materials.

Russia’s Administrative Code specifies that circumstances underneath Article 5.26 could be introduced by the police, Prosecutor’s Workplaces, or native Justice Departments.

Along with the 23 prosecutions underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary actions”) and Half 5 (“Foreigners conducting missionary exercise”), the Russian authorities introduced prosecutions towards non secular communities in occupied Crimea in 2021 for failing to show their full official authorized title on locations of worship, literature and web posts.

In its newest report, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine pointed to the numerous fines handed down in Crimea underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26. Its report “Civic Area and Elementary Freedoms in Ukraine”, printed on 8 December 2021, famous that “the applying of anti-extremist legal guidelines of the Russian Federation, generally known as the ‘Yarovaya package deal’, [..] considerably restricted the power of varied non secular teams to conduct non secular practices collectively by banning broadly outlined ‘missionary actions’.”

Prosecutions have additionally been introduced in Crimea to punish train of freedom of faith or perception in public underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 20.2 (“Violation of the established process for organising or conducting a gathering, assembly, demonstration, procession or picket”), which is linked to Russia’s Demonstrations Regulation.

On 29 April 2020, Sovetsky District Court docket in japanese Crimea discovered Imam Dilyaver Khalilov responsible underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 20.2, Half 2 for main prayers in a mosque that they had used since 2004 which has now been forcibly closed and seized. When Discussion board 18 requested how the Muslim group ought to worship now the authorities have seized their place of worship, Emil Velilyayev, deputy head of Sovetsky District, responded: “There isn’t any group there.” The Choose fined Imam Khalilov 30,000 Russian Roubles (about one month’s common wages for these in work). Prosecutors had initially introduced the case underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary actions”).

Human rights defender Aleksandr Sedov of the Crimean Human Rights Group said in 2017 that the punishments violate the rights to freedom of faith or perception enshrined within the European Conference on Human Rights and Elementary Freedoms. He additionally identified that they break Geneva Conference (IV) relative to the Safety of Civilian Individuals in Time of Warfare, which enshrines the rights of civilians in occupied territories.

Police Centres for Countering Extremism, Prosecutors, FSB

Most of the circumstances in Crimea underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary exercise”) start with “inspections” of spiritual communities, which contain paperwork regarding a group’s registration (whether it is registered as a spiritual organisation, or has notified the Justice Ministry of its existence as a spiritual group), its place of worship, and its chief.

Significantly within the circumstances of mosques and their imams, inspections generally take the type of raids by armed officers of the police, OMON riot police or FSB safety service on communities assembly for worship.

Police Centres for Countering Extremism, Prosecutors and Russia’s FSB safety service typically provoke such inspections and raids.

Prosecutions comply with Russian FSB safety service raids

On the night of 6 February 2021, the Russian FSB safety service raided a small Protestant group within the japanese Crimean city of Kerch. It claimed to be conducting an inspection of observance of Russia’s Faith Regulation. On the assembly for worship, church leaders “instructed these gathered about religion, about god [sic], about hope for an additional life, learn the Bible and sang songs”.

The FSB safety service then handed its findings to Kerch Prosecutor’s Workplace. On 16 February 2021, Assistant Prosecutor Mikhail Polyukhovich ready a case towards church member Ivan Denisov underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary exercise”).

On the listening to on 12 March 2021 at Kerch Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 47, Assistant Prosecutor Polyukhovich referred to as for Denisov to be fined 25,000 Russian Roubles. Two girls – who weren’t members of the church – testified that he had handed them leaflets in regards to the service earlier within the day.

Choose Irina Sergiyenko discovered Denisov responsible of sharing religion with individuals who weren’t church members, in line with the choice seen by Discussion board 18. Nonetheless, she didn’t meet Polyukhovich’s demand for a excessive high quality, as an alternative fining him 8,000 Russian Roubles.

Discussion board 18 was unable to achieve Assistant Prosecutor Polyukhovich. Telephones at Kerch Prosecutor’s Workplace went unanswered every time Discussion board 18 referred to as on 22 February.

In late 2020, Assistant Prosecutor Polyukhovich introduced an analogous administrative case of conducting “missionary” exercise underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 towards S. Alekseyev. Kerch Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 48 fined him 5,000 Russian Roubles on 3 November 2020.

On 24 Could 2021, Russian FSB safety service officers and Prosecutor’s Workplace officers mounted a joint raid on a mosque in Crimea’s central Simferopol District, which surrounds the regional capital. They discovered Stated Akhmad Asanov main prayers “with out a doc from the governing physique of a spiritual organisation confirming his authority to conduct missionary exercise within the title of the non secular authority”.

Asanov’s “missionary exercise” consisted of “conducting companies (namaz) and alluring to take part within the exercise of the Muslim group an unknown circle of people that weren’t members (followers) of the given non secular group”. The Imam instructed the FSB and Prosecutor’s Workplace officers that he had led prayers day by day within the mosque since 12 April 2021.

Assistant Prosecutor Olga Kushnerova of Simferopol District Prosecutor’s Workplace ready a case towards Asadov underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary exercise”).

On 29 June 2021, Choose Tatyana Protsenko of Simferopol District Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 75 discovered Asanov responsible and fined him 5,000 Russian Roubles, in line with the choice seen by Discussion board 18.

Assistant Prosecutor Kushnerova – who now works for Simferopol’s Railway District Prosecutor’s Workplace – refused to remark intimately on the case she introduced towards Imam Asadov. “I will not give any feedback by cellphone,” she instructed Discussion board 18 from Simferopol on 22 February 2022. “The whole lot I did was inside the parameters of the legislation and the duties assigned to me underneath the legislation.” She refused to debate why a person must be punished for main worship in a spiritual group.

A number of circumstances

Many people and communities face a number of circumstances underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary exercise”).

4 prosecutions in early 2021 focused members of Home of the Potter Protestant Church within the port metropolis of Sevastopol. Judges fined Aleksey Smirnov, Ivan Nemchinov (twice) and Yevgeny Kornev after prosecutors picked them out as dwelling group leaders on a social media submit by a church member.

An official from Gagarin District Prosecutor’s Workplace, who wouldn’t give his title, refused to debate with Discussion board 18 in February 2021 why it had initiated circumstances towards the church members. An officer of the town police’s Centre for Countering Extremism who didn’t give his title listened to Discussion board 18’s query as to why his Centre was concerned in a case the place a person was punished for exercising his proper to freedom of faith or perception and no extremism was concerned. “Good day,” he responded, and put the cellphone down.

Imam Yusuf Ashirov

Crimean Solidarity

Home of the Potter Church members have repeatedly confronted administrative prosecution for exercising their proper to freedom of faith or perception. 4 of its members – together with the pastor, Mikhail Leppik – confronted prosecution in January 2018 underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 for speaking to folks, providing leaflets and singing at a bus cease. Two church members have been every fined 5,000 Russian Roubles (about 5 days’ common native wages), whereas Leppik and a fourth church member have been acquitted.

Following an inspection in October 2019, which discovered that Home of the Potter Church had failed to tell the Justice Ministry of its existence, prosecutors introduced a case towards Pastor Leppik underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 19.7 (“Failure to offer or late provision of knowledge to a state physique”). On 16 December 2019, Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 7 issued Leppik with a warning.

On 8 June 2021, Choose Svetlana Vlasova of Alushta Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 22 fined Imam Yusuf Ashirov 5,000 Russian Roubles underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary exercise”), in line with the choice seen by Discussion board 18.

Yukhary-Jami Mosque, Alushta

Krymr.org (RFE/RL)

Throughout a raid on the unbiased Yukhary-Jami mosque within the southern Crimean city of Alushta, officers discovered Imam Ashirov main Friday prayers with out permission from the Russian state-backed Crimean Muslim Board.

Prosecutors in Alushta introduced an analogous case towards Imam Ashirov in 2020. The identical Choose on the similar Justice of the Peace’s Court docket fined him in June 2020.

The Russian state has backed makes an attempt by the Crimean Muslim Board to take management of the Yukhary-Jami mosque. The unbiased mosque group has worshipped within the nineteenth century mosque since 1994, twenty years earlier than the Russian occupation of Crimea.

Prosecutions elevated in 2021

The 23 recognized prosecutions in Russian-occupied Crimea in 2021 for conducting “missionary” exercise with out state permission present an increase in such prosecutions in comparison with 2020 and a return to the degrees earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, throughout which there was a discount within the variety of conferences for worship.

– In 2020, 13 such prosecutions have been introduced, of which all 13 ended with punishment.

– In 2019, 24 such prosecutions have been introduced, of which 17 ended with punishment.

– In 2018, 23 such prosecutions have been introduced, of which 19 led to punishment. Seven of these prosecuted in 2018 (underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 5 “Foreigners conducting missionary exercise”) have been longtime residents who’re Ukrainian residents.

Prosecutions proceed in 2022

The Russian authorities have introduced additional prosecutions underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary exercise”) in 2022:

– Liana Palyokha was fined 7,000 Russian Roubles in Belogorsk on 18 February 2022.

– S. Ablyazimov is going through a listening to in Simferopol’s Kiev District on 10 March 2022.

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Listing of people punished for “missionary” exercise

The record of recognized 2021 prosecutions underneath Russian Administrative Code Article 5.26, Half 4 (“Russians conducting missionary exercise”) and Half 5 (“Foreigners conducting missionary exercise”), primarily based on court docket information and different data (date of court docket listening to, title of particular person/group, punishment, court docket, materials on which prosecution primarily based, enchantment):

1) 13 January 2021

Title: Imam Server Davletshayev

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Bakhchisarai Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 26

Circumstances: Police Centre for Countering Extremism discovered him main prayers in mosque

Enchantment: none

2) 22 January 2021

Title: Ivan Nemchinov

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Gagarin District, Sevastopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 7

Circumstances: Police Centre for Countering Extremism discovered him performing music and praying at assembly for worship of the Potter’s Home Protestant Church (additionally posted on YouTube)

Enchantment: unsuccessful, Gagarin District Court docket 24 March 2021

3) 25 January 2021

Title: Aleksey Smirnov

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Gagarin District, Sevastopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 7

Circumstances: Police Centre for Countering Extremism discovered him main assembly for worship of the Potter’s Home Protestant Church

Enchantment: unsuccessful, Gagarin District Court docket 14 April 2021

4) 26 January 2021

Title: Ivan Nemchinov

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Gagarin District, Sevastopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 7

Circumstances: Police Centre for Countering Extremism discovered him taking part in assembly for worship of the Potter’s Home Protestant Church

Enchantment: unsuccessful, Gagarin District Court docket 10 March 2021

5) 11 February 2021

Title: Imam Murtaza Ablyazov

Punishment: High-quality 15,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Belogorsk Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 32

Circumstances: Led Friday prayers in mosque “not as soon as however systematically”

Enchantment: unsuccessful, Belogorsk District Court docket 20 April 2021

6) 18 February 2021

Title: Imam Aydar Islyamov

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Simferopol District Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 76

Circumstances: Led prayers in mosque

Enchantment: none

7) 2 March 2021

Title: Yevgeny Kornev

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Gagarin District, Sevastopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 7

Circumstances: Police Centre for Countering Extremism discovered him main conferences for worship of the Potter’s Home Protestant Church and posting sermons on-line

Enchantment: unsuccessful, Gagarin District Court docket, 20 April 2021

8) 2 March 2021

Title: S. Sheikhmedov

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Kiev District, Simferopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 9

Circumstances: unknown

Enchantment: none

9) 12 March 2021

Title: Ivan Denisov

Punishment: High-quality 8,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Kerch Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 47

Circumstances: Discovered by Russian FSB secret police holding Protestant assembly for worship. Case transferred 20 February 2021 from Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 48

Enchantment: none

10) 22 March 2021

Title: Artyom Morev

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Kiev District, Simferopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 7

Circumstances: Pastor of Technology of Religion Pentecostal church

Enchantment: none

11) 8 June 2021

Title: Yusuf Ashirov

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Alushta Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 22

Circumstances: Led Friday prayers in unbiased mosque

Enchantment: unsuccessful, Alushta Metropolis Court docket 21 October 2021

12) 13 June 2021

Half 5

Title: Vasily Andriychuk

Punishment: High-quality 15,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Lenino District Court docket

Circumstances: International citizen legally resident provided leaflets with Jehovah’s Witness beliefs on streets

Enchantment: none

13) 22 June 2021

Title: Aleksey Gabrielyan

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Lenin District, Sevastopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 14

Circumstances: Police Centre for Countering Extremism discovered chief of Protestant group sharing religion and providing leaflets close to cinema

Enchantment: none

14) 29 June 2021

Title: Stated Akhmad Asanov

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Simferopol District Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 75

Circumstances: Discovered by prosecutors and FSB secret police main day by day prayers in mosque

Enchantment: none

15) 8 July 2021

Title: Valery Reyman

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Saki District Court docket

Circumstances: Supplied New Testaments and Baptist literature on the streets

Enchantment: none

16) 22 July 2021

Title: O. Klimenko

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Lenino Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 63

Circumstances: Police discovered her providing leaflets with Jehovah’s Witness beliefs on streets

Enchantment: none

17) 22 July 2021

Title: N. Bondar

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Lenino Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 63

Circumstances: Police discovered her providing leaflets with Jehovah’s Witness beliefs on streets

Enchantment: none

18) 23 August 2021

Title: Pavel Skokov (Archimandrite Damian)

Punishment: High-quality 15,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Belogorsk Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 32

Circumstances: Held service in Orthodox Church of Ukraine monastery

Enchantment: unsuccessful, Belogorsk District Court docket 6 December 2021

19) 6 September 2021

Title: V. Perkov

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Bakhchisarai Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 28

Circumstances: unknown

Enchantment: none

20) 20 October 2021

Title: N. Shulga

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Lenin District, Sevastopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 14

Circumstances: unknown

Enchantment: none

21) 20 October 2021

Title: N. Logunova

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Lenin District, Sevastopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 14

Circumstances: unknown

Enchantment: none

22) 20 October 2021

Title: E. Teplyashina

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Lenin District, Sevastopol Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 14

Circumstances: unknown

Enchantment: none

23) 25 October 2021

Title: A. Tyurin

Punishment: High-quality 5,000 Russian Roubles

Court docket: Saki Justice of the Peace’s Court docket No. 73

Circumstances: Police Centre for Countering Extremism discovered the Baptist providing non secular literature “with out paperwork allowing this”

Enchantment: none

(END)

Full reviews on freedom of thought, conscience and perception in Crimea

For extra background, see Discussion board 18’s Crimea non secular freedom survey

Discussion board 18’s reviews and analyses on freedom of thought, conscience and perception in Russia inside its internationally-recognised territory

Discussion board 18’s compilation of Organisation for Safety and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) freedom of faith and perception commitments

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