Routine harassment of Jehovah's Witnesses reported


Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 22 September 2016


Early in the morning of 20 September 2016, armed agents of law enforcement bodies in masks conducted a series of searches in houses of worship and private homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in Stavropol territory and Karachay-Cherkesia.


In Nezlobnaia station, agents of law enforcement bodies burst into a house of worship, after having blocked the entry doors and smashed several internal doors. After refusing entry to a representative of the owner, they conducted a search, during which they planted in the building books that are included in the list of extremist materials. After this they prudently dismantled and removed video surveillance equipment. They did not show believers a search warrant or a police report.


Simultaneously a search was conducted in the home of the chairman of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, Pavel Puzyrev, and also in the home of his parents. Armed agents of law enforcement bodies in masks jumped over the fence and, entering the building, they dispersed among the rooms, planting forbidden literature. It is noteworthy that on 12 September 2016, Puzyrev was the victim of a provocation: unidentified persons pasted false posters in academic institutions with a call for prayer and following the true path and also with the telephone number of the house of worship of Jehovah's Witnesses and P. Puzyrev personally.


The congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in the station of Nezlobnaia has existed since the late 1960s. Believers of the older generation note that the last search in their homes was conducted in 1985.


A search also was conducted in the house of worship of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Piatigorsk.


Reports of searches have come in also from the village of Mednogorsk of Karachay-Cherkesia. A search was conducted in the home of one of the believers, involving police and the FSB. It has been impossible to contact the woman.


The Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia is following the development of the situation. Previously, on 24 August 2016 in the city of Budennovsk of Stavropol territory a group of persons in civilian clothing entered the premises where a Jehovah's Witnesses worship service was being conducted and demanded that it cease. Representatives of law enforcement dispersed among the rooms for conducting a search, after which they "found" several publications from the Federal List of Extremist Materials in various parts of the building. (tr. by PDS, posted 22 September 2016)


Russian original posted on,  22 September 2016

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