Photo: Special forces breaking down the door to the apartment of believers (Polyarny, April 18, 2018)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

New searches of believers in the Murmansk region

Murmansk Region

On November 23, 2018, in the city of Polyarny (Murmansk region), searches were carried out in the homes of 2 citizens who are suspected of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. In one case, underage children observed searches of their homes.

During the searches, a copy of the Bible in the translation of the Orthodox Archimandrite Macarius, the New Testament in church translation, a scientific monograph on religious studies, as well as notebooks, personal notes, a mobile phone, a computer, flash drives and tablets were seized from citizens.

In April 2018, Roman Markin and Viktor Trofimov were arrested during violent assaults on 7 apartments belonging to citizens believed to be Jehovah's Witnesses. After 176 days in pre-trial detention, they were placed under house arrest. According to the investigation, they held worship services, which is interpreted as "organizing the activities of an extremist organization" (with reference to the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to liquidate all 396 registered organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses). Believers view the actions of law enforcement officers as a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.