Updated: June 12, 2024
Name: Kuzo Taras Grigoriyevich
Date of Birth: June 19, 1978
Current status: defendant
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.3 (1), 282.2 (1)
Time spent in prison: 1 day in a temporary detention facility, 388 day in a pre-trial detention, 486 day Under house arrest
Current restrictions: prohibition of certain actions

Biography

In March 2021, a civilian resident of the city of Yalta, Taras Kuzo, became a victim of persecution for his faith. Law enforcement officers considered the father of two minor children guilty of a particularly serious crime of extremist orientation.

Taras was born in 1978 in Yalta in a family of engineers. He spent all his life in this Crimean city, graduated from school with a gold medal. By profession he is a manager-economist, also engaged in carpentry production.

Taras loves sports, especially team games: football, volleyball and basketball. He also loves mathematics and everything related to numbers. As a child, Taras read the Bible, but he consciously came to faith in God as an adult. Because of his peaceful Christian convictions, he asked for the replacement of military service with an alternative civilian service, which he successfully completed from 2001 to 2003, which was even mentioned in the local newspaper. In 2008, Taras married Darya, a teacher by profession.

Taras's mother and sister do not share his religious beliefs, but they sincerely wonder why a peaceful and kind person is accused of extremism.

Case History

In March 2021, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Taras Kuzo from Yalta, a father of two young children, suspecting him of financing the activity of an extremist organization. After a series of searches in the homes of believers, Kuzo ended up in a temporary detention facility. In July of the same year, a criminal case was initiated against his wife, Darya, as well as Petr Zhiltsov, Sergey Lyulin and Tadevos Manukyan. Later, Manukyan’s case was made into a separate proceeding. Lyulin spent more than 6 months in a detention center and more than 4 months under house arrest. Zhiltsov and Kuzo were under house arrest for 11 and 16 months, respectively. In March 2022, the case of the believers went to court. A year later, the court sentenced Taras Kuzo to 6.5 years in a penal colony, Petr Zhiltsov to 6 years and 1 month and Sergey Lyulin to 6 years imprisonment; Darya Kuzo was given a 3-year suspended sentence. The men were taken into custody. On March 22, 2024, the court of appeal overturned the verdict and sent the case back for a new trial.