Harassment of Jehovah's Witnesses


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 17 July 2019


In the evening of 13 July 2019, in Evpatoria (Crimea), agents of the FSB arrested 57-year-old Oleg Osetsky. During the special operation he began feeling badly but nevertheless he was taken to the police department and interrogated all night, until 6:00 a.m. Later he was released.


That evening, friends and acquaintances, fellow believers, including Oleg Osetsky, visited the home of a local resident. In the meantime, secret service personnel set up a cordon around the entrance, after which a group of FSB agents entered the apartment. Secret service agents interrogated those present, while filming, and recorded their personal information, and they also seized personal documents, disks, and printed materials.


The law enforcers seemed to put special pressure on Oleg Osetsky. As a result of the questioning, the believer began feeling badly so that it was necessary to call an ambulance. When Osetsky came to, he was taken to one of the local police departments, where he was interrogated until morning, after which he was released. According to Osetsky, the secret service agents acknowledged that they had already been watching him for some time. Whether any accusation has been made against Oleg Osetsky is still not known.


This is not the first time problems for believers have arisen in Crimea. In June 2019, FSB agents conducted a series of raids as the result of which a 52-year-old local resident was arrested. Before that, believers complained about surveillance and wiretapping.


Yet another search was conducted about a month later, on 7 July, in the apartment of a Sevastopol resident. In both cases, citizens were suspected merely of the fact that they adhered to the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses.


What other Crimeans have had to deal with, whose faith the secret service agents do not like, is described in a video, "Dzhankoy after a raid: how harassment cripples the life of believers."


The decision of the Supreme Court banning 396 religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia was not supposed to lead to the prosecution of believers. Both the Ministry of Justice and the government have often declared this. However in fact the ban has turned into religious persecution for thousands of believers and for some peaceful citizens, into prison and tortures. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 July 2019)



Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 17 July 2019


In the evening of 16 July and morning of 17 July 2019, in Nizhny Novgorod and the city of Pavlovo of Nizhny Novgorod oblast, about ten searches in homes of believers were conducted and technology equipment was confiscated. In at least one case, the security agents forced peaceful residents to lie on the floor. Men and women were arrested and interrogation is going on.


The last time Nizhny Novgorod security agents put pressure on those who adhere to the convictions of Jehovah's Witnesses was more than two years ago, back before the decision of the Supreme Court banning 396 organizations of believers took effect. At that time, security agents disrupted a worship service and planted a brochure that was included in the list of extremist materials. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 July 2019)

Background article:
Jehovah's Witnesses fear far-reaching consequences of fine levied on them
January 25, 2017

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