SEARCHES AND ARRESTS OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES NEAR CHINESE BORDER
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 19 March 2019
On 17 March 2019, in the village of Luchegorsk, searches were conducted in homes of citizens whom law enforcement considers to be Jehovah's Witnesses. The operation was conducted by F.S.B. personnel from Dalnerechensk, which is 80 kilometers away. In some places, the searches and interrogations continued for 7 hours. Two believers, Yury Belosludtsev and 63-year-old Sergei Sergeev, were arrested and taken to Dalnerechensk.
So far, it is unknown whether a criminal case has been opened and what is the fate of the detainees.
This operation was conducted against the background of a court case in Luchegorsk: the prosecutor's office is seeking to convert to government property a building in which the Luchergorsk Jehovah's Witnesses previously conducted their worship services. The building had been sold and the prosecutor's office is trying to have the deal ruled invalid.
Earlier in the Primorsky territory, four criminal cases were opened against Jehovah's Witnesses for their faith: in Vladivostok (2), Spasske-Kalnyi, and the village of Volno-Hadezhdinskii. Six persons were placed behind bars, of whom five were transferred to house arrest. Another five are under a signed promise not to depart. Forty-four-year-old Dmitry Barmakin has already spent 235 days in SIZO No. 1 for Primorsky territory. (tr. by PDS, posted 20 March 2019)
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