FSB raids homes of Yehovah's Witnesses in Murmansk, detains believers
Five apartments belonging to members of the local group of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Murmansk were in late December raided by the FSB.
The raids were made in cooperation with the regional Investigative Committee. A big number of books and electronic information resources was confiscated and the people taking part in the gatherings, as well as their organizers and leaders, were identified and charged, the law enforcement authority informs.
At least ten people were detained in the operation. According to news journal 7x7, the detainees deny involvement in any illegal activity arguing that they were only meeting for conversations and prayer, a fundamental right provided by Article 28 in the Russian Constitution.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses was in April 2017 banned in Russia following a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court. The religious group is today defined as an illegal «extremist» organization.
In April 2018, the FSB and the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardia) conducted raids in Polyarny, the naval town in the Kola Peninsula. Two local residents were detained.
The extremist law banning Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia provides for a maximum sentences of 6 to 10 years in jail.