Police raids "find" extremist literature in Jehovah's Witnesses' churches



On 27 March, around 10 personnel of the "E" Center of the MVD RF ["Extremism" Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian federation] and FSB RF stormed a house of worship of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Prokhladinyi (Kabardino-Balkariia) where at that time a worship service was in progress, in which more than 70 believers were participating. The believers categorically refused to permit a search of the premises and forced them out of the building. When the first floor of the building turned out to be in the possession of the personnel of law enforcement agencies, they declared the "discovery" there of materials that are on the federal list of extremist materials of the Russian federation.


As a precaution, believers conduct every week a careful search of the building to establish the absence in it of any prohibited items. Therefore they have no doubt that the materials included in the federal list of extremist materials had been planted on them. About 250 adherents of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses live in the city of Prokhladnyi.


On 25 March, in the city of Stavropol, personnel of the police and the FSB cordoned off the house of worship of the Jehovah's Witnesses on Vasilev Street. According to available information, materials on the federal list also were planted and "found."


At the present time more than 80 Jehovah's Witnesses' publications are on the federal list of extremist materials. Although Jehovah's Witnesses consider this a mistake and they attempt in court to exclude their books and brochures from this list, they do not import, or distribute, or keep these publications. The believers carefully see to it that such materials are not in their houses of worship, conducting regular searches, photographing, and composing records. However the tactic of plants has become a wide-spread phenomenon in many regions of Russia, which the believers have reported many times now, the press service of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia notes. (tr. by PDS, posted 29 March 2016)

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