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Head of Jehovah's Witnesses cell in Siberian city detained on extremism charges

A search of his apartment is underway and investigators are questioning the witnesses

TOMSK, July 15. /TASS/. A resident of Seversk, a closed town in Siberia’s Tomsk Region, has been detained on suspicion of setting up a cell of Jehovah's Witnesses religious group (recognized as extremist in Russia).

According to investigators, the man and a group of other individuals organized meetings in 2017-2020, disseminated extremist literature and recruited new members, the Russian Investigative Committee’s press service said.

"Investigators of the Russian Investigative Committee in the Tomsk Region based on the case files of the Federal Security Service and the Internal Affairs Ministry in the Tomsk Region opened a criminal case into organizing the activities of an extremist organization in the city of Seversk (Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code). The alleged organizer of the extremist organization’s activities was detained. He has been charged, the issue of choosing a restriction measure against him is being decided, " the statement said.

A search of his apartment is underway and investigators are questioning the witnesses.

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 included Jehovah’s Witnesses and its 395 local religious branches to the 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.