JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES CONGREGATION FINED IN PETROZAVODSK
SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 3 October 2016
On 3 October it was reported that the Petrozavodsk city court fined the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses 50,000 rubles on the basis of article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law (mass distribution of extremist materials or their possession for purposes of distribution).
We recall that on 3 August 2016 the MVD for the republic of Karelia published a notice that some days earlier, as the result of operational search activities in Petrozavodsk, documents of the local organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses and 12 brochures from among those included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials were seized. This occurred after armed personnel of OMON and FSB interrupted a worship service in the building of the organization on 28 July 2016. The press service of the Jehovah's Witnesses reported that at that time the police conducted interrogations of believers, took their telephones from them, threw several to the floor, pinning them to the floor with their knees, and kicked them. Members of the congregation also declared that the police planted the brochures included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials in the premises.
We recall that we consider bans on the literature of Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist and prosecution of believers for distributing it to be illegal. Such actions by the authorities we consider to be religious discrimination. (tr. by PDS, posted 4 October 2016)
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