Charges presented to Jehovah's Witnesses in Crimea


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 3 April 2019


On 26 March 2019, F.S.B. investigator S. Bosiev filed a charge of organizing extremist activity (part 1, article 282.2 of CC RF) against Artem Gerasimov, who was detained for questioning during searches in eight homes of believers in Alupka, Gurzuf, and Yalta of Crimea. Another believer, Taras Kuzo, has the status of a suspect in this case. Both were released after questioning.


As stated in the investigator's order, Artem Gerasimov's guilt consists in his conducting meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses "while being aware of the public danger" of this. Gerasimov is charged with "acquaintance with literature" containing statements "demeaning human dignity on the principle of attitude toward religion." The investigator did not cite any explanations or specific examples.


It is noteworthy that during hearings of the case about the ban on the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and also 395 local organizations of believers,

not a single instance was heard that proved that the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses had inspired any kind of real crimes. Rights advocates and other representatives of society consider the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses to be peaceful and alien to ideas of strife and hatred toward anybody, no matter what his identity.


After the ban of organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, including Crimea, there began persecution of believers, despite explanations by the government of Russia that the ban should apply only to legal entities and should not restrict the right of believers to profess this religion. Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed puzzlement regarding the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses. (tr. by PDS, posted 3 April 2019)

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