SEARCHES CONDUCTED IN HOMES OF FOUR FAMILIES OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN IVANOVO OBLAST
by Daniil Kuznetsov
7 x 7 Ivanovskaia Oblast, 14 April 2020
In Taikovo of Ivanovo oblast, security forces arrived for searches in four families of adherents of Jehovah's Witnesses. This was reported on 14 April on the website of devotees of this confession.
According to information of the website Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, investigators came to the homes of Teikovo believers for searches in the morning of 11 April, and they confiscated from them all electronic devices, including a tablet of a young daughter of one of the adherents which she used to study remotely during the pandemic of the coronavirus.
"In accordance with the sad tradition that has developed, investigators considered the practice of worship services and conversation about God with people, which are usual for Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the world, to be extremism. During the searches, law enforcement agents sought for evidence that the four men (the oldest of them is 64 years and the youngest is 50) continued the activity 'of a forbidden local religious organization' of believers," devotees of this confession wrote on their website.
Continuation of the activity of a congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses also has become the basis for opening a criminal case about extremist activity. Investigators wrote out summons to interrogation on 16 and 17 April for the objects of the searches. The criminal case itself was opened on 10 April.
A trial of one of the leaders of the Furmanov congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, Evgeny Spirin, has been dragging out in Ivanovo oblast since January 2019. He spent 160 days in a SIZO and 167 days under house arrest on the accusation that he organized worship services of his fellow believers. In December 2019 he was released from detention without any measure of restriction. (tr. by PDS, posted 14 April 2020)
SERIES OF SEARCHES CONDUCTED IN IVANOVO OBLAST
Security agents sought evidence of affiliation with Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 14 April 2020
Early in the morning of Saturday, 11 April 2020, in the midst of the quarantine because of the pandemic of coronavirus, groups of security agents in the city of Teikovo of Ivanovo oblast burst into the apartments of four families of believers, exposing them to a risk of infection with the deadly dangerous disease.
The reason for the searches was a criminal case regarding arranging extremist activity (part 1, article 282.2 of CC RF), which was opened on 10 April 2020 by the Investigation Department of the Russian MVD for Ivanovo oblast. In accordance with the sad tradition that has developed, investigators considered the practice of worship services and conversation about God with people, which are usual for Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the world, to be extremism. During the searches, law enforcement agents sought for evidence that the four men (the oldest of them is 64 years and the youngest is 50) continued the activity "of a forbidden local religious organization" of believers.
During the search, believers and their families suffered stress. "My blood pressure went up. I worried about my wife and daughter, who also experienced distress. My daughter shared later that at first she was frightened, but then she prayed and caught sight of a photo of our family on the wall, and this helped her to calm down some," one of the owners of an apartment where the search was conducted explained
He said that the security agents seized his daughter's tablet, depriving her of the possibility of studying. The daughter is undergoing distance learning because of the quarantine connected with the coronavirus pandemic.
This time arrests were avoided, although electronic devices and personal items were taken from the believers. Several believers were not provided a copy of the search report by security agents. All of them were given summons to appear for interrogation scheduled for 16 and 17 April 2020.
criminal cases have been opened in Ivanovo oblast against ten
persons. The case
of one of the believers, Evgeny Spirin, has already been heard
in court. (tr.
by PDS, posted 14 April 2020)
Jehovah's Witness moved from cell to house arrest in Ivanovo oblast,
July 13, 2019
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