Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Putin Regime’s Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses Continues, with 248 Charged and 582 Searches Conducted

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 26 – Although media attention to the Putin regime’s campaign against the Jehovah’s Witnesses has ebbed, that effort, now two years old, continues unabated, with the number of arrests and searches up by 20 percent since the start of the summer, Moscow’s SOVA Center reports on the basis of Jehovah’s Witness documentation.

            As a result of this continuing campaign, one that may even be growing, the number of Witnesses who have been charged with crimes has risen to 248 and the number of searches of Kingdom Halls and homes in the Russian Federation now amounts “at a minimum” to 582 (

                According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, 39 of their number in Russia are now in prison, 26 are under house arrest, 23 under prohibition from specific actions, and 83 are free after pledging not to leave the area.  Ninety-one more were detained at one point or another but have now been released.

            These actions are part of the continuing fall out from the decision of the Russian Supreme Curt in April 2017 which shut down the administrative center of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and 395 of its local organizations as “extremist.” The denomination appealed but that appeal was rejected.

            The SOVA Center entirely reasonably declares that this decision and its application has no legal basis but instead is “a manifestation of religious discrimination.”

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