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Police foil activity of Jehovah's Witnesses in northwestern Russia

According to investigators, five individuals used to recruit new members to the organization being aware that its activities are prohibited by law

SYKTYVKAR, March 4. /TASS/. Police officers in the Komi Republic in northwestern Russia have thwarted the activity of the Jehovah's Witnesses extremist group (outlawed in Russia), the Investigative Committee (IC) said on Thursday.

A criminal investigation is launched against five individuals. One of the suspects is placed in custody, two are put under house arrest and two others are ordered not to leave the country.

"The IC’s investigative bodies in the Komi Republic, based on the case files of regional branches of the Federal Security Service and the Russian Interior Ministry, opened a criminal case against five residents of Syktyvkar, who are suspected of organizing and participating in the activity of an extremist organization (Article 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code)," the statement reads.

According to the investigators, in 2017-2021, the suspects who share the extremist ideology of Jehovah's Witnesses, carried out active steps aimed at pursuing illegal activity of the group and recruiting new members. Acting in secrecy, they carried out general management of the organization, coordinated illegal activities, organized and held meetings of members of the banned organization and collected funds to sponsor these activities.

Police conducted searches of the homes of the group members and other alleged participants. More than 10 individuals were questioned as witnesses.