On 17 July 2017, in total disregard of Russia’s international commitments to protect freedom of religion, the Russian Supreme Court upheld its decision to declare Jehovah’s Witnesses’ activities “illegal”. This ruling validates the ban on the worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the country while the organization has about 170,000 Russia.
When asked about the issue, the Russian Ministry of Justice said that the religious organization presented “signs of extremist activity”. The administration claimed to have seized two grenades and an explosive device at home.
Following an investigation, police officials confirmed in a statement that weapons and a “large number of books with extremist content” were seized during house searches of these five people in Kirov.
The latter are also accused of having collected about 6,500 euros from the faithful and organized clandestine meetings in Kirov during the course of 16 August 2017 and 29 September 2018, breaking the ban on the organization.
The NGO Human Rights Watch denounces the fact that “the Russian authorities carry out searches, interrogations and other acts of harassment and persecution” . She is also indignant at what she calls a “vast campaign” of “religious persecution” against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, a religion that claims to be Christian.