Religious Persecution: Russian authorities arrest Jehovah's Witnesses for holding church activities

Police arrest Jehovah's Witnesses for doing church in Russia

Since Russia's Supreme Court banned the religious group, members have been severely persecuted.

Some Jehovah's Witnesses have been arrested by the Russian authorities for holding church activities.

According to The Moscow Times, a husband, his wife and their female acquaintance from the town of Yelizovo were arrested and detained.

Their crime - being suspected of organizing Jehovah's Witnesses activities in spite of the ban on the religious group.

Local investigators say that they were detained after a raid that happened  during a worship service being held at the residences of the Jehovah's Witnesses' "main members."

 

There, the police found "extremist" literature, handwritten notes e.t.c which resulted in an open case against them.

In a statement, the Kamchatka Investigative Committee said, "Immediately after launching the criminal case, searches with support from the Kamchatka region National Guard's OMON riot police were carried out at two apartments in the town of Yelizovo."

These three Jehovah's Witnesses have been placed in a pretrial detention for "committing a crime linked to extremism," by participating in the activities of "a banned religious organization." They could be imprisoned for up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

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Religious persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

There has been a severe crackdown on the religious group since they were labeled as extremist by Russia's Supreme Court in April 2017.

These label has made things extremely difficult for the group's estimated 175,000 worshippers to meet or even distribute literature. They have also faced random raids, arrests and several hate crimes.

 

According to the Moscow-based Memorial human rights center, at least 29 Jehovah's Witnesses have been detained on criminal charges since the Supreme Court's ruling.

As a result of these arrests and detentions, many have been forced to flee Russia to seek shelter elsewhere. Reportedly, they are relocating to Finland and other European countries.

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