As of July 31, 2019, the total number of searches in the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses had reached 587. In two years since the ban took effect, 90 criminal cases were opened against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. At least 241 people are either suspects, accused or convicted. After the verdict against Dennis Christensen in February 2019, Russian law enforcement increased the pressure, evident by the fact that as of February 6, 2019, searches numbered only 296. In total at least 129 Witnesses have been sent to detention centers, and 39 of them, including six women, are still behind bars.
For the first time, Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova drew attention to the unjustified criminal prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses, and also pointed out the root of the problem.
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.
Human rights organizations from 18 countries urge the Russian authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all Jehovah's Witnesses in detention and to drop the charges for the involvement in extremism.
According to available information, over the past 12 months 269 searches in the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses were conducted throughout Russia as a direct consequence of the ban on their activity. Any search turns the life of an innocent person into a nightmare, affecting health, causing deep emotional trauma, and undermining their reputation.
This application was filed on behalf of the 395 local religious organisations (LROs) that were liquidated by the Russian Supreme Court in April 2017 along with the Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
The Russian government’s position in the international court blatantly contradicts its position in domestic court.
Vladimir Putin: “Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Also Christians. I Don’t Understand Either Why They’re Being Persecuted”.
“This is complete nonsense. We have to investigate this carefully”, Vladimir Putin commented regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses being included on the list of extremist organisations.
On 26 September 2018, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) announced that Dennis Christensen was included on the list of “Religious Prisoners of Conscience”.
The Prosecutor General’s Office was asked to verify the legality of the massive arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Council for Human Rights believes that this violates the Supreme Court decision.
The response to the application Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and Kalin v. Russia contains a statement that should serve as a warning to security agencies.
The cross-examination of the experts who found extremism in the Bible can be observed in both St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Among other things, the Ombudsman’s attention is being drawn to massive human rights violations, which are gaining momentum, following this court decision.
On 11 September 2017, lawyers filed a supervisory appeal against the Supreme Court decision to liquidate Jehovah’s Witnesses and ban their activity in Russia. They requested that the decision dated 20 April 2017 be completely reversed and its execution be suspended until the proceedings in the court of supervisory instance are concluded.
A hearing date has been set for an appeal against the RF Supreme Court decision dated 20 April 2017 to liquidate the Religious Organisation Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
The full text of the appeal is published. The date of the appeal hearing has not yet been set.
The 26-minute statement by a lawyer in oral arguments during the historic judicial proceedings on banning Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The most dangerous form of extremism is a wave of persecution of believing citizens merely because they worship God”, noted Novakov.
Kalin called the claim of the Ministry of Justice “a crime against one’s own people” in his four-minute statement in oral arguments during the historic judicial proceedings on banning Jehovah’s Witnesses.
A 13-minute statement of Sergey Cherepanov in oral arguments during the historic judicial proceedings on banning Jehovah’s Witnesses.