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The Kaluga Regional Court in Russia

OCTOBER 16, 2019

Russian Judge Violated Judicial Procedure in Case Against Brother Kuzin, Says Appeals Court

Russian Judge Violated Judicial Procedure in Case Against Brother Kuzin, Says Appeals Court

On September 9, 2019, Judge Svetlana Anatolyevna Prokofyeva of the Kaluga Regional Appeals Court declared that the Kaluga District Court was guilty of serious violations when it ruled to keep Brother Dmitriy Kuzin in pretrial detention.

Judge Prokofyeva’s ruling was significant as it was a rare admission of the unfair legal process Jehovah’s Witnesses have been facing in Russia. The judge criticized the district court for numerous violations of judicial procedure. The district court was found to have mocked Brother Kuzin for his religious convictions and to have not given him the opportunity to properly defend himself. Judge Prokofyeva also noted in her judgement that “it is impossible to say that the presiding [district court] judge was objective.”

Brother Dmitriy Kuzin and his wife, Svetlana, on their wedding day in 2013

Brother Kuzin was arrested on June 26, 2019, when Federal Security Service (FSB) agents from Kaluga raided his apartment. Two days later, the Kaluga District Court ruled to keep Brother Kuzin in pretrial detention for two months. On August 19, the city’s FSB investigator filed a motion with the same court to extend Brother Kuzin’s detention another two months. The court granted that motion.

Brother Kuzin appealed to the higher regional court, of which Judge Prokofyeva presided. Because she determined that the lower court judge violated judicial procedure, she directed that Brother Kuzin’s case be sent back to the lower court for consideration by a different presiding judge. Unfortunately, on September 23, the district court, under a new judge, again ruled to extend Brother Kuzin’s detention for two more months.

We are confident that Jehovah, the God of faithfulness and justice, will continue to loyally care for our brothers and sisters in Russia who put their trust in him.—Deuteronomy 32:4, 9-11.