2018-11-16 11:00:00

FSB searches apartments of Jehovah's Witnesses members in Crimea's Dzhankoy

Moscow, November 16, Interfax - Officers of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) have conducted searches at apartments where members of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect (extremist organization, banned in Russia) live in Crimea, the Rossiya 24 (VGTRK) TV channel reported on Friday.

The TV station's correspondent said that investigators are working in the town of Dzhankoy. A criminal case on extremism charges has been opened.

For its part, the Tavrida TV channel (a branch of VGTRK) said that 30 apartments where suspected members of the sect live have been searched.

"Searches are under way at the places of residents of the suspects, who are members of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect, which is outlawed in Russia. According to the source, all of these people may be connected with Ukrainian special services and their actions are possibly coordinated from the Jehovah's Witnesses center in Kharkov. It is known that searches are being carried out at 30 addresses in Dzhankoy. It is such a large-scale raid," the TV channel said.

Tavrida, however, showed only two suspected adherents, including the local cell's leader, in its footage.

"According to FSB officers, extremist literature, various psychology reference books and also recruitment materials were seized from them. A criminal case has been opened on extremism charges," it said.

The FSB department for Crimea told Interfax that it would not comment on these reports.

The Russian Supreme Court upheld the Justice Ministry's lawsuit on April 20, 2017, designating the Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist organization and banning its activities in Russia.