Jehovah's Witness nabbed as he tries to board plane



Forty-four-year-old Andrei Stupnikov was arrested early in the morning of 3 July in Krasnoyarsk's Emelianovo airport by F.S.B. personnel. The detainee is suspected of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses reports.


During registration for a flight, Andrei and his wife were approached by two men. One of them showed his identification as an F.S.B. agent. Andrei was told that he was under arrest and will be taken to the Directorate of the Russian F.S.B. for Kraasnoyarsk territory. The state security personnel said that within two days a court should decide the question of the measure to ensure appearance for Andrei.


At the present time, dozens of citizens who profess the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses are in a SIZO or under house arrest in Russia. Such a widespread repression began after the decision of the Russian Supreme Court in July of last year regarding the liquidation and prohibition of all 396 organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.


The Council for Development of Civil Society and Human Rights under the Russian president addressed the office of the prosecutor general of Russia: "The accusation of citizens that they read the Bible and pray to God together is being interpreted as a 'continuation of the activity of an extremist organization.' The council considers that such an interpretation does not comport with the legal position of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. It is obvious that there is a contradiction between the announced position of the government of the Russian Federation and the practice of law enforcement. This cannot but evoke concern inasmuch as the criminal prosecutions and arrests have acquired a systematic character." (tr. by PDS, posted 4 July 2018)

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