JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES CONGREGATION IN SARANSK FINED
SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 8 December 2016
The local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses has again been found guilty under article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law.
On 8 December 2016 the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MVD] for the republic of Mordovia reported that a court has fined a local religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Saransk 150,000 rubles for possession of extremist materials for the purpose of mass distribution (art. 20.29 of Code of Administrative Violations of Law). The decision was made by the Lenin district court of Saransk.
The ministry stated that personnel of the Center for Combating Extremism of the republican MVD discovered forbidden literature in the possession of Jehovah's Witnesses and also publications in which an expert analysis that was conducted later found signs of extremism. It is known that an operational activity was conducted on 13 October 2016 in a house of worship of Jehovah's Witnesses in Saransk. The believers maintained at that time that the forbidden materials were planted on them.
Back in 2016, a congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Saransk was fined 100,000 rubles on the basis of article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law and then it received a prosecutorial warning about the impermissibility of extremist activity. If the new decision of the court is not successfully challenged, it may become the basis for liquidation of the local religious organization.
We consider bans on the literature of Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist and prosecution of believers for its distribution to be illegal. Such actions by the authorities we regard as religious discrimination.
Sources: MVD website for republic of Mordovia, 8 December 2016; Website of Lenin district court of Saransk, 8 December 2016.
(tr. by PDS, posted 10 December 2016)
SEARCH OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES' PREMISES CONDUCTED IN SARANSK
SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 17 October 2016
A search was conducted in the house of worship of Jehovah's Witnesses in Saransk, during which forbidden literature was discovered. The believers say the literature was planted by inspectors.
On 13 October 2016 in the house of worship of Jehovah's Witnesses in Saransk a search was conducted, during which forbidden literature was discovered.
According to the believers, the literature was planted: the inspection in the Jehovah's Witnesses' premises was conducted by an official of the fire safety inspection who was accompanied by about 20 persons, in uniforms and in masks, and it was they "who turned their backs to the surveillance cameras and stood close to one another, forming a 'wall' and blocking the view of the cameras, and huddled by an empty cabinet," and they found literature from the Federal List of Extremist Materials.
The inspection seized not only literature but also video equipment and mobile telephones of all persons present at the time of the search. Just what brochures were discovered and confiscated is not known.
We recall that in September 2016 the Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in Saransk received a warning about the impermissibility of extremist activity because of its possession of forbidden literature. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 December 2016)
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