Countrywide harassment of Jehovah's Witnesses


SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 12 December 2017


During November 2017, personnel of law enforcement agencies in various regions have arrested Jehovah's Witnesses, demanded they disclose their religious confession, often taken them to police departments, seized their personal items, forcibly photographed and finger-printed them, and also invaded the residences of believers.


Such incidents were observed, in particular, in Dmitrov of Moscow province, the village of Severnaia Ferma of Vologoda province, Diveevo of Nizhny Novgorod province, and the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous oblast. In Chapaevsk of Samara province, during a verification of compliance with antiextremist legislation, one of the believers was summoned to the prosecutor's office in order to submit explanations.


Several times police have invaded believer's residences. For example, in the village of Uiskoe of Cheliabinsk province, police collected information about believers by canvassing apartments in which Jehovah's Witnesses lived. In Yartsev of Smolensk province, police also came to one believer's home and asked whether he was a Jehovah's Witness. In Kushvo of Sverdlovsk province, police conducted a search without the consent of the owner, insulted the owner of the apartment and her friend who was visiting, and talked scornfully about their faith. In Belgorod, a believing couple reported the illegal penetration by police into their apartment and the installation of devices for audio and video recording.


In addition, in Naberezhnye Chelny police and F.S.B. personnel arrived at a recreational area which had been rented by about 100 believers and they checked the documents of people assembled there and copied their information. In Novosibirsk, police arrived at the workplace of one believer and, according to him, planted religious brochures in his office. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 December 2017)

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