24 November 2020, 11:39
Several Jehovah's Witnesses leaders detained in Russia - Investigative Committee
Moscow, November 24, Interfax - Investigators have opened a criminal case into the establishment of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia (designated as an extremist organization), have detained a number of the movement's leaders, and are conducting searches in the country's regions, spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee's Moscow branch Yulia Ivanova told reporters on Tuesday.
"The criminal case was opened based on materials about the arrangement in Moscow of the activities of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and its structural divisions designated as extremist organizations by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation," Ivanova said.
According to investigators, from June 2019 and up to the present day, a group of persons aware of the aforementioned Supreme Court ruling "arranged the work of this organization's local religious branch in the north-east of Moscow."
"Their secret meetings were held at an apartment located on Chelyuskinskaya Street at which followers studied religious literature and information from other sources advertising the Jehovah's Witnesses ideology and also were engaged in other work typical of this organization," Ivanova said.
It has also been established that members of the aforementioned branch "persuaded and recruited residents of the capital and other regions to join the outlawed religious movement," she said.
"Investigators together with the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service, and with support from the Russian National Guard, are carrying out searches in more than 20 regions of the country. They have identified and detained a number of the movement's organizers and participants who will be taken to the Investigative Committee's departments for necessary investigative procedures," Ivanova said.
The criminal case was opened on a count of arranging an extremist organization's activities, she said. This offence is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
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