26 August 2021, 15:55
Organizers of Jehovah's Witnesses cell detained in Moscow
Moscow, August 26, Interfax - Moscow investigators have detained three suspected organizers of a religious cell of Jehovah's Witnesses, whose activities were recognized as extremist in Russia.
"Currently, three organizers of the movement born in 1964, 1971 and 1977 have been identified and detained, they have faced charges. Investigators intend to seek the court to hand down a restraining measure to them in the near future," spokesperson for the Moscow branch of the Russian Investigative Committee Yulia Ivanova said.
According to the investigators, between September 2017 and April 2020, a group of people, being aware of the Russian Supreme Court ruling, ran a local religious cell of Jehovah's Witnesses in Moscow.
According to the Investigative Committee, the conspiratorial gatherings were held in several apartments located in Moscow's South-Western Administrative District, where followers studied religious literature and information contained in other sources propagating the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as carried out other actions characteristic of this association.
"Additionally, the organizers held online meetings via video link, and also persuaded and recruited new members from among residents of the capital and other Russian constituent entities to join in the banned religious movement," Ivanova said.
Employees of the Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee jointly with Russian Guard officers have conducted searches at the places of residence of the organizers and members of the organization, during which they have seized computer equipment, electronic devices, numerous extremist books and other objects and items that are important for the investigation of the criminal case, she said.
The criminal case was initiated on charges of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. If the guilt of the detainees is proven, they face penalties in the form of either a fine of 400,000 rubles to 800,000 rubles, or a prison term of six to ten years.