MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. Three organizers of underground meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses cells, recognized as an extremist organization and outlawed in Russia, have been detained in Moscow, the spokeswoman for the Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee, Yulia Ivanova, told TASS on Thursday.
"According to the investigation, during the period from September 2017 to April 2020, a group of persons while being aware of an effective ruling by Russia's Supreme Court, organized the operation of the aforesaid organization - Jehovah's Witnesses in Moscow - on the territory of Moscow," Ivanova said. Secret gatherings took place in several apartments in the city's South-Western District. Also, the organizers held several online meetings and were recruiting members among the residents of Moscow and other regions.
The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case under part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code. The homes of the organizers and members were searched, with the National Guard (Rosgvardiya) providing support, and personal computers, electronic devices and a large amount of extremist literature were seized.
"Three organizers (born in 1964, 1971 and 1977) have been identified and detained. Formal charges were brought against them. In the near future the investigators will ask the court to select restrictive measures against the detainees," Ivanova said.
The Administrative Center of Jehova's Witnesses in Russia was declared as an extremist organization on April 20, 2017, and its activity and the activity of its branches in Russia outlawed. The relevant article of the Criminal Code envisages a fine of up to 800,000 rubles or a prison term of six to ten years.