On the evening of June 2, 2019, in Prokhladny, attackers set fire to an empty building in which Jehovah's Witnesses used to hold meetings. Three sources of ignition were discovered.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has categorically condemned the arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses and demanded that Russia immediately free the worshippers. We publish the whole document in Russian.
On the evening of June 4, 2019, the FSB conducted searches of at least nine houses of local Witnesses. Viktor Stashevsky, 52, was detained and a criminal case was initiated against him.
June 3, 2019, marks exactly one year since a raid was carried out in Tomsk. Local Jehovah's Witnesses, including an 83-year-old woman, were taken out of their homes for interrogation. The court ordered Sergey Klimov held in Detention Center No. 1 in the Tomsk Region. On May 28, 2019, the court once again extended his detention.
On June 3, 2019, the court in the city of Makhachkala sent to jail for two months Arsen Abdullayev, 40; Maria Karpova, 38; Anton Dergalev, 34; and Marat Abdulgalimov, 27. Two days earlier, FSB officers in masks with machine guns invaded about 10 homes of local Jehovah's Witnesses.
On May 23, 2019, Dennis Christensen had his last chance to reach the conscience of those on whom his freedom depended. We publish in Russian an excerpt from remarks he delivered during the appeal hearing in Oryol Regional Court.
On May 24, 2019, police in Kirov searched the home of Anatoliy Tokarev, 60, leading to criminal charges under the article "Organization of extremist activities" for "joint singing of biblical songs ... in his apartment." He had to promise to appear for interrogation.
As of May 24, 2019, 43 women and 157 men across Russia are being prosecuted in connection with the ban imposed on the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. Exactly half of the victims—100 people—were sent to Russian prisons.
A panel of three judges upheld the decision to imprison a Danish Jehovah’s Witness for 6 years. He has been declared an extremist and has already been held behind bars for almost two years.
On May 22, 2019, at least 15 apartments of Jehovah's Witnesses were invaded by law enforcement officers in Rostov-on-Don.
On May 18, 2019, the court imposed two months of confinement on Valentina Vladimirova, 63, and Tatyana Galkevich. They became the seventh and eighth defendants in Smolensk. In April 2019, four men were jailed. Before that, Maria Troshina and Natalia Sorokina spent 191 days behind bars there.
On May 18, 2019, the Central District Court of Volgograd decided on a jail term of two months for Igor Egozaryan, Sergey Melnik, Vyacheslav Osipov and Valeriy Rogozin, who were detained earlier.
Konstantin Bazhenov, Aleksey Budenchuk and Feliks Makhammadiyev were released after 11 months in a Saratov jail. They are still accused of organizing extremist activities, but the preventive measure for them has been changed.
Oryol Regional Court on May 23, 2019, is scheduled to hear defendant Dennis Christensen deliver a final statement in his appeal, after which the three-judge panel will retire for sentencing. Closing arguments took place May 16, with foreign diplomats, journalists, and numerous members of the public in attendance.
On May 6, 2019, Aleksander Deryshov, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Perm Territory, signed a final document in which investigators summarized the charge against Perm resident Aleksandr Solovyov, 48, who is suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. The case goes to court.
In the three months after the sentence imposed on Dennis Christensen, similar cases were initiated in 25 cities of Russia, 74 people became accused or suspected, 28 of them were thrown in jail (for some of them, that preventive measure was softened later), and 141 families were searched in their homes.
On May 8, 2019, approximately five houses were searched in the framework of a criminal case against Sergey and Anastasiya Polyakov.