Jehovah's Witnesses face pretrial detention in Moscow


by Natalia Kozlova

Rossiiskaia Gazeta, 26 November 2020


Today the Presnya court of Moscow will consider the request of the Investigative Committee [S.K.R.] to detain in custody four supporters of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses, which is banned in the R.F.


The S.K.R. asks for the detention of V.V. Komarov, Yu.E. Chernyshev, S.G. Shatalov, and S.G. Chaikovsky. All of them are charged under article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the R.F.—"Arranging the activity of a public or religious association, with respect to which a court has made a decision for liquidation or prohibition of activity because of conducting extremist activity."


Inasmuch as the organization is forbidden in our country, all face a fine of up to 800 thousand rubles or prison terms of up to ten years. But the detainees do not admit guilt.


A senior aide of the director of the Moscow of the chief of the S.K.R, Julia Ivanova, explained for an R.G. correspondent that the case was opened because of the revival of the work of the center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.


Searches were conducted in more than 20 regions, in all. According to information of the investigation, the work of the organization was revived in Moscow in June 2019 and conspiratorial gatherings were held in an apartment on Cheliuskin Street.


To clarify: three years ago, in 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses was extremist and it liquidated it. In all, about 400 local congregations fell under the ban. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 November 2020)

Breaking News: The Presnya court of Moscow chose a measure of restriction for the first of five detained Jehovah's Witnesses. Fifty-one-year-old Sergei Shatalov was placed under house arrest. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 November 2020)

Update: Among those arrested has turned out to be 49-year-old Vardan Zakarian. After the raids, eyewitnesses saw fresh abrasions on the believer's face. He was admitted to the therapeutic department of clinical hospital No. 20, where he spent two days under guard. Security guards did not permit relatives to bring provisions to the believer. On 26 November, the believer was taken directly from the ward to the Presnya district court of Moscow for resolution of the question of selecting measures of restriction. The rest of the detainees have been taken there. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 November 2020)

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