Jehovah's Witnesses searched in Crimea, some detained
In the annexed Dzhankoi, Russian FSB officers have raided and detained at several addresses possible members of Jehovah's Witnesses. This organization is banned in Russia, and is de facto banned in the annexed Crimea.
As reported by Radio Svoboda, the head of the local regional group of the “Witnesses - Sivash" Sergei Filatov was detained. The group was registered in 2015 and liquidated in 2017 after the ban on Jehovah's Witnesses came into force in Russia.
Russian media claim that a criminal case was brought against Filatov. The law enforcement officers suspect that “all these people may have somehow been connected with the Ukrainian secret services, at least they were coordinated from the Kharkiv center of Jehovah's Witnesses."
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian administrative center of the religious organization is located in Lviv region.
The Russian security forces have not yet commented on the searches in Dzhankoy.
On April 20, 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia recognized the Jehovah's Witnesses' Administrative Center as an extremist organization.
According to the Memorial Human Rights Center, since April last year, 39 supporters of the religious organization were prosecuted in neighboring Russia. In August 2018, the Memorial recognized 29 supporters of Jehovah's Witnesses as political prisoners accused of terrorism and urged for their immediate release.