Khanty-Mansiysk, February 15, Interfax - Law enforcement agencies in Surgut in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District have suppressed the activity of a group of Jehovah's Witnesses (banned in Russia), the Investigative Committee's branch in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District said on Friday.
Investigators said that members recruited local residents who distributed forbidden literature. In conversations with local residents, Jehovah's Witnesses "propagandized their advantage over representatives of other religions, encouraging locals to end kindred and family relations with the latter."
The most active members of the organization were detained.
Their homes and offices were searched, and extremist literature, computers, and mobile phones were seized, according to the Investigative Committee.
Investigators are verifying the exact number of local Jehovah's Witnesses and all of the circumstances of their activity.
A criminal inquiry has been launched over organization of and participation in the activity of a banned organization and the recruitment of local residents.
A local cell of the Jehovah's Witnesses called The Gathering was shut down in Urai in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District in early February.
On April 20, 2017, the Russian Supreme Court granted the Justice Ministry's lawsuit recognizing the religious organization The Managerial Center of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and its local divisions as extremist and banned them in Russia.