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FSB arrests members of 15 Jehovah's Witnesses communities in Dagestan

Source: RIA Dagestan

FSB employees have arrested the leaders and members of 15 Jehovah’s Witnesses groups in the Northern Caucasian republic of Dagestan.

Representatives of the agency claimed that those arrested had organized “conspiratorial gatherings with the aim of studying extremist literature and coordinating actions to spread the organization’s ideology” for several years.

The arrests were carried out under the authority of a criminal case brought under one of Russia’s primary anti-extremism statutes, Article 282.2 of the country’s Criminal Codex.

Jehovah’s Witnesses was declared by Russia’s Supreme Court to be an extremist organization in 2017. In December of 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the ban on the organization “absolute garbage” and said he didn’t “really understand why they’re being persecuted.” Members of the religious group arrested by Russian security forces earlier this year told journalists they were subjected to torture.