Makhachkala, June 7, Interfax - The Federal Security Service (FSB) branch in Dagestan opened a criminal case over extremism against Jehovah's Witnesses, which is banned in Russia, the branch's spokesperson told Interfax.
"As part of the investigation of the case under Article 282.2 (organizing of extremist activities) of the Criminal Code, the functioning of 15 cells of the prohibited extremist organization Jehovah's Witnesses in Dagestan was discontinued," the official said.
For several years their members had been meeting in secret to study extremist literature and coordinate efforts to spread the organization's ideology, he said.
"They also travelled abroad to meet with foreign coordinators and receive funding and recommendations on how to expand their activities. Law enforcement authorities also detained sect leaders who earlier trained at foreign centers and recruited new members from among Dagestani natives," the official said.
Officers also seized a large amount of propaganda material that was "used by suspects to spread extremist ideology and engage locals, including children, into unlawful activities," he said.