Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten – 17th November 2018
Raid against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crimea
The Russian secret service FSB has carried out a raid against the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Crimean peninsula. The members should have contacts with the Ukrainian secret service.
The Russian secret service FSB searched the premises of tens of members of Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Crimean peninsula. The action took place in the city Dzanköy (Turkish: Canköy) instead, reported the television station Rossiya -24 on Friday.
Local head of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Sergei Filatov, was detained during the night from Thursday to Friday. He was then released. In his apartment literature and brochures for the recruitment of people were found. According to Article 282 of the Russian Penal Code (“Extremism”), a criminal case has been instituted against him. The members of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Dzanköy are also accused of maintaining contacts with the Ukrainian secret service, reports the state-run Russian news agency TASS. They are said to have been commanded by the Ukrainian city of Kharkov.
The Supreme Court of Russia had previously declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and banned their activities in Russia.The Jehovah’s Witnesses pose a threat to “citizens’ rights, public order and public safety,” the court argues. All 395 Jehovah’s Witness regional associations had to be disbanded, theWashington Post reports . The 170,000 members of Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to participate in national elections and commemoration ceremonies and to do compulsory military service. The assets of the group have since been confiscated.
Statements by Jehovah’s Witnesses
The official website of Jehovah’s Witnessesreports: “On May 3, 2018, the St. Petersburg City Court upheld the verdict of December 2017. This allowed the Russian government to immediately seize the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Solnetschnoye.”
The affected members of the group have direct contacts to the US . In a message”The Sestrorezk District Court, when deciding in December 2017, ignored evidence that the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia is owned by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (WTPA), a non-profit legal entity based in the United States. Already in 2000, the ownership of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia was transferred to the WTPA. Since then, WTPA has paid around 188 million rubles (2.5 million euros) in taxes to the Russian Federation. Although the Russian government has been de facto recognizing this legal transfer for more than 17 years, the district court has now invalidated the documents that prove the ownership. “
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