SEVASTOPOL, June 5. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Security Service announced on Wednesday it had quashed the Jehovah's Witnesses extremist religious organization (outlawed in Russia) in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.
"Russia’s FSB branch in the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol has thwarted the illegal activity of members of the Sevastopol cell of an international religious organization recognized as extremist on the territory of Russia," the FSB said.
According to the FSB, the Jehovah's Witnesses cell in Sevastopol had been started by a local citizen, who organized gatherings, religious speeches, promoted this religious group’s ideas and recruited new members.
A criminal case has been launched against the follower of the Jehovah's Witnesses into organizing this religious organization’s activity. If found guilty, he faces up to 10 years behind bars.
The FSB, police and the National Guard conducted searches in the apartments of the group’s members and in their meeting places. They seized more than 70 items of extremist literature, 250 reports on collecting donations and holding religious services, Jehovah's Witnesses’ booklets, religious lectures, instructions on conspiracy measures and how to communicate with law enforcement agencies, in addition to documents on refusing blood transfusions as well as cell phones, laptops and electronic data storage devices.
Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international religious organization that supports offbeat views on the essence of the Christian faith and provides special interpretations of many commonly accepted notions.
In August 2017, the Russian Justice Ministry placed the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization and its 395 local religious branches on a list of organizations outlawed in the country. The Russian Supreme Court satisfied the claim of the Justice Ministry to shut down the organization on April 20, 2017.