More Jehovah's Witnesses arrested in ethnic region of western Siberia


Izvestiia, 20 August 2020


In Yugorsk in the Khanty-Mansi autonomous okrug [Kh.M.A.O.], a case against two residents suspected of arranging the activity of a religious cell of Jehovah's Witnesses, whose activity is forbidden on Russian territory, was opened. This was reported on the website of the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia [S.K.R.] for the region on 19 August.


The case was opened against a 42-year-old and a 48-year-old resident of Yugorsk. They are suspects on the basis of part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF ("Arranging the activity of an extremist organization"). The suspects have been arrested.


The investigation thinks that in the period from 6 September 2017 to 18 August 2020, the Yugorskans created in Yugorsk and Sovetsky a local religious organization, which was promoting the ideology of the Jehovah's Witnesses.


The suspects directed together and in concert the activity of this organization and they engaged in distributing extremist literature, recruiting new members from among local residents, and also collecting and spending money for the needs of the cell.


Searches were conducted in the places of residence of the suspects and also of other members of the organization, during which communication devices and extremist literature and pamphlets were confiscated.


In the near future, the investigation will petition for confining the detainees in custody.


Earlier, on 15 July, the S.K.R. in Tomsk oblast opened a criminal case regarding arranging the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses. According to information of the investigation, from July 2017 to July 2020, a group of persons arranged the activity of a local division of this organization in the closed administrative territorial formation of the city of Seversk. The alleged creator was arrested.


By a decision of the Russian Supreme Court of 20 April 2017, the activity of the organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" and also of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses of the city of Yugorsk, which was a member of that structure, was forbidden on the territory of our country.


At the time of the prohibition, the organization consisted of more than 2,200 religious groups, which could have included about 175,000 members. (tr. by PDS, posted 20 August 2020)





In Yugra [Khanty-Mansi autonomous okrug], a criminal case has been opened against a 42-year-old resident and a 48-year-old resident of the city of Yugorsk. They are suspected of arranging the activity of an extremist organization, was told in the press service of the regional S.K.R. [Investigative Committee of Russia].


According to the account of the investigation, the suspects arranged the activity of a religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, which is forbidden in Russia, on the territory of the cities of Yugorsk and Sovetskii. In the period from 6 September 2017 to 18 August 2020, the suspects directed the organization, parceled out duties among its members, controlled its activity, distributed extremist literature, recruited new members from among local residents, organized secret meetings of members at which they conducted religious rituals and sermons, and collected money for the needs of the organization.


"Over the course of almost three years, the organization promoted the superiority of adherents of the teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses over other persons, including those who profess a different religion, and a negative assessment of persons who are not adherents of said religious teaching, and they encouraged them to split from kinship and familial relations and to not recognize governmental bodies," the report of the S.K.R. says.


Investigators and officers of the M.V.D. conducted nine searches, where communication devices, extremist literature and pamphlets, and other items and documents having significance for the criminal case were seized, including instructions for resisting investigation agencies.


Both organizers have been arrested and at the present time are being questioned by investigators, and in the near future a petition for confining them in custody will be sent to a court. (tr. by PDS, posted 20 August 2020)



Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 20 August 2020


According to verified information, on 19 August, searches were conducted at 9 addresses, 8 in the city of Yugorsk and 1 in the city of Sovetskii. Sixteen persons were taken away for interrogation. After interrogation, two believers—48-year-old Andrei Zhukov of Yugorsk and 42-year-old Ivan Sorokin of Sovetskii—were placed in a temporary holding cell for 48 hours. During this time, a court is supposed to decide the question of selecting measures of restriction for them. It is known that a criminal case based on part 1 of article 282.2 has been opened against them. It is being conducted by N.Yu. Tatarnikov, an investigator of the investigation control division of the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.  (tr. by PDS, posted 20 August 2020)

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