Searches and arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses in southwest Russia and occupied Crimea


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 10 July 2019


In the morning of 8 July 2019, special services conducted a search in the home of at least one believer in Nevinnomyssk (Stavropol territory). According to information that is still unconfirmed, during the special operation, siloviki planted forbidden literature on the believer. This information is being checked.


Widespread raids on believers have already been conducted in Nevinnomyssk, provoked by the fact that law enforcers in the regions interpret the law on extremism in a distorted way. In November 2018, special services, suspecting local residents of being Jehovah's Witnesses, arrested, among others, a man with a disability of the first group, parents of an infant child, and a 77-year-old man who required emergency medical aid as a result.


Information about other instances of violation of believers' rights in the region have been published on the pages of newspapers of Stavropol territory. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 11 July 2019)



Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 10 July 2019


On 7 July 2019, at 7:30 a.m., a search was conducted in the home of Vladimir Petrovsky, a resident of Sevastopol. Suspicion that he belongs to the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses was the reason for invading the residence of the believer. Details of what happened are being clarified.


Law enforcers mistakenly interpret the religious confession of citizens as participation in the activity of an extremist organization, which has evoked a widespread wave of searches and arrests of peaceful believers.


Earlier, special services personnel conducted searches in residences of at least nine Sevastopolites, one of whom was arrested and later released on a signed promise not to depart. "Life in our family has begun to be divided into before and after," one of the victims shared in the course of searches in Dzhankoy (Crimea). (tr. by PDS, posted 11 July 2019)



Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 10 July 2019


On 2 July 2019, in Saransk (Mordovia), Alexander Shevchuk and Georgy Nikulin were released after 147 days in a SIZO [pretrial investigation cell]. Investigation in the criminal case is continuing.


According to the account of the investigation, the Saranskians engaged in "spreading ideology and faith among residents of the republic of Mordovia . . . by means of conducting conversations in public places and residences with residents of the city of Saransk and other neighborhoods," which is interpreted as "arranging the activity of an extremist organization."


The case against Shevchuk and others in Saransk was opened on 4 February 2019. Two days later the Mordovian FSB conducted searches in the homes of nine Saransk families of Jehovah's Witnesses. Alexander Shevchuk, Vladimir Atriakhin, and Georgy Nikulin were arrested and sent to the SIZO. At the present time, they all are on a signed promise not to depart. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 July 2019)

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