Case compiled against Jehovah's Witnesses in far north


Website of Investigation Directorate for Murmansk oblast, 29 May 2019


Investigation agencies of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for Murmansk oblast completed the investigation of a criminal case based on evidence of the crime provided for in part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (planning the activity of a religious association with respect to which a court has made a decision that has taken legal effect liquidating it because of performing extremist activity).


It was established that the religious organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" and constituent elements of its structure, including the local "Polyarny" religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, were liquidated by a decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, which has taken legal effect.


As the result of carefully planned and organized operational investigative activities on suspicion of committing said crime, two local residents of the Alexandrovsk closed administrative territorial formation of the city of Polyarny of Murmansk oblast were arrested; they were born in 1974 and 1957.


According to the account of the investigation, in the period from May 2017 to April 2018, on the territory of the Aleksandrovsk closed administrative territorial formation of the city of Polyarny, the accused, acting as members of a group of persons by prior agreement, reliably knowing that the aforementioned religious organization had been liquidated because of performing extremist activity and was banned on the territory of the Russian Federation, planned its activity by means of convoking and conducting meetings, using the internet. They also planned the recruitment of new members, acquainted the participants in the meetings with contents of texts of religious literature, and conducted the collection of money in the form of donations.


Within the context of the criminal case that was opened, investigators of the SKR, with the armed support of personnel of the Russian Guard for Murmansk oblast and the directorate of the Russian FSB for the Northern Fleet, conducted simultaneous searches at six addresses on the territory of the city of Polyarny, during which electronic data storage devices were seized, along with a large quantity of literature. A complex of investigative activities was conducted, including receiving the results of more than thirteen investigations and forensic expert analyses, including computer, phonoscopic, and complex psycho-linguistic expert analyses with the participation of a religious studies expert. More than 40 witnesses also were questioned. The investigative activities were conducted on the territory of Murmansk oblast and other component elements of the Russian Federation.


In the course of the preliminary investigation, the criminals did not acknowledge their guilt, did not wish to provide evidence, and took advantage of the provisions of article 51 of the Russian constitution. Despite this, the investigators conducted painstaking work, as a result of which an adequate evidentiary base was produced.


This crime was revealed by the operational personnel of the directorate of the Russian FSB for the Northern Fleet.


At the present time, a criminal case with the indictment confirmed by the prosecutor has been sent to a court for consideration on the merits.


The sanction of the article provides for a maximum sentence in the form of imprisonment for a term of from six to ten years. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 May 2019)

Background articles:

Federal crime fighting bureau directed against Jehovah's Witnesses

April 20, 2018

Jehovah's Witnesses released from pretrial custody
October 11, 2018

Local newspaper quotes Putin against trial of Jehovah's Witnesses
May 13, 2019

Russia Religion News Current News Items

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