Fraudulent police tactics used against Jehovah's Witnesses



In the evening of 26 January in the center of Birobidzhan, around 15 persons, several with weapons and masks, interrupted a worship service which 150 Jehovah's Witnesses were conducting in a hall rented by one of the believers. Without displaying an order, personnel of the police and the UFSB [Directorate of the Federal Security Service] for the Jewish autonomous province conducted a search of the premises and "discovered" a package with materials that are included in the federal list of extremist materials. The believers have evidence that the package had been brought and planted near the entrance into the hall, and they intend to complain against the actions of officials.


In recent years, fraudulent tactics have been multiplied with respect to congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses throughout Russia, the press service of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia notes.


This is not the first instance of the disruption of a service of Jehovah's Witnesses and planting materials on them. Earlier, on 8 October 2015, believers arriving at rented premises long before the service discovered to their amazement that someone had deposited in a box publications that are included in the federal list of extremist materials. The believers destroyed them, but in the same evening a group of 8 police officers arrived at the meeting, who rudely broke up the service and conducted a search of the premises. Believers submitted a collective complaint against the actions of the police officers. A Birobidzhan district court refused to satisfy the complaint and an appeal was sent to the court of the Jewish autonomous province. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 February 2016)



Gorod na Bire, 29 January 2016


During inspection activities in the meeting place of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, personnel of the Group for Combating Extremism of the UMVD of Russia for the Jewish autonomous province, along with personnel of the UFSB of Russia for the Jewish autonomous province, discovered literature of religious contents—three books and 7 brochures that are included in the federal list of extremist materials.


While the activities were being conducted, the leader of the organization fled from law enforcement agents and only a day later did UMVD officers familiarize him with an administrative protocol drawn up on the basis of article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the RF, "production and distribution of extremist materials."


The literature was withdrawn from public distribution. After an inspection of the materials is conducted they will be sent to the Birobidzhan district court for consideration on the merits, the press service of UMVD RF for EAO reports.


The local religious organization of Jehovah's Witness had already wound up in the field of the activity of law enforcement structures for a similar violation of law back in 2015, when 11 prohibited publications were confiscated. Its former director was held administratively liable and given a large fine, and a warning about the impermissibility of conducting extremist activity was issued to the organization by the prosecutor's office of Birobidzhan. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 February 2016)

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