2021-02-10 11:43:00

Several organizers of Jehovah's Witnesses cell detained in Moscow

Moscow, February 10, Interfax - A number of organizers and members of the Moscow cell of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization (banned in Russia) have been detained, and an extremism case has been opened, Yulia Ivanova, from the Moscow branch of the Russian Investigative Committee, said.

"A criminal case has been opened under Parts 1 and 2 of Article 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code (organization of the activity of an extremist organization). The criminal case was opened on the basis of materials regarding organization of the activity of the Management Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, which had been branded as an extremist organization by a ruling of the Russian Supreme Court, in Moscow," Ivanova told journalists on Wednesday.

"A number of organizers and members of the movement have been identified and detained; they will be taken to the agency's unit for relevant investigative procedures," she said.

According to the investigators, in the period from September 2017 until now, "a group of persons, who were aware of the Supreme Court ruling that had taken effect, organized the activity of a local religious division of the aforesaid organization in the north of Moscow." "Secret meetings were held in an apartment on Dybenko Street; the followers were studying religious books and information from other sources of propaganda of the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses and engaged in other activities characteristic of this organization," Ivanova said.

The organizers also held videoconferences, she said.

"Investigators from the main department in Moscow, acting together with the Interior Ministry and the local branch of the Federal Security Service and supported by the Russian National Guard in Moscow, are searching 16 residences of organization members," Ivanova said.

Ivanova said in late November 2020 that a similar criminal case had been opened against representatives of Jehovah's Witnesses who organized the activity of a local religious group in an apartment located in northeastern Moscow.