ELDERLY WOMAN FACEDOWN ON FLOOR AND PLANTED EVIDENCE: DETAILS OF A RAID ON BELIEVERS IN SOCHI
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 21 October 2019
In the evening of 10 October, groups of armed special forces hacked doors and broke through balconies into apartments of dozens of residents of Sochi. Both young and old were forced face down on the floor. Actions similar to special operations against terrorists turned out to be searches of people who believe in God in ways unlike others.
Searches in homes of peaceful believers were conducted in at least 19 addresses in Sochi and vicinity. The special operation included not only local security forces, judging by vehicle license plates, but also even squads from Rostov and Volgograd oblasts.
The reason for the raid in Sochi was a criminal case based on the "extremism" article 282.2 (1) of the CC RF, which is being investigated by a senior investigator of the investigation department of the Investigative Committee of Russia (SKR) for Krasnodar territory, Senior Justice Lieutenant D. Petrunnikov.
They stormed through the balcony. Viacheslav and Iulia Popov are among those to whose apartment special forces came. The storm began at approximately 7 p.m. Armed persons in masks broke through the balcony, breaking the railings. At this time, children were at home, who were very frightened and cried. Troops took Viacheslav immediately for questioning, and then presented an order from a judge of the Central district court of Sochi, and began a search that lasted more than an hour and a half. From the family were taken cell phones, tablets, and other computer technology, as well as several printed publications, notebooks with personal notes, and postcards.
The whole family under the machine gum. The same evening personnel of the Investigative Committee, accompanied by Russian Guards, invaded the home of 26-year-old Normund Gudin. They forced the whole family, including Normund's parents and even his elderly grandmother, to lie on the floor while threatening them with a weapon . The search lasted more than three hours. During a search at another family's house—Vladislav and Alla Martynov—law enforcers planted religious publications that did not belong to them. The troops acknowledged that this was unpleasant for them, but such is their job.
As the justification for the intrusion, an order by Judge Anna Voronkova of the Central district court of Sochi for a search was presented.
Two believers in the SIZO. As a result of the raid on believers in Sochi, two persons were detained—68-year-old Nikolai Kuzichkin and 45-year-old Viacheslav Popov. On 11 October, a trial was held and Judge Shevelev ordered to arrest them and to put them in a SIZO until 24 November. Believers arrived to support their relatives, friends, and acquaintances, and several gathered at the entrance to the building. They supported their fellow believers with applause when a paddy wagon took them away to the place of confinement. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 October 2019)
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