Russia violates the freedom of religion in annexed Crimea, - the U.S. Department of State
"The occupation authorities continue to arrest Crimean Tatars, accuse them of illegal missionary activities, and seize Ukrainian Churches," the report says.
Religious and human rights groups continuously report that the Russian media try to arouse suspicion and fear of various religious groups in their materials, in particular, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia and its annexation of Crimea but is legal in Ukraine. Russian media also portray 'Jehovah's Witnesses' as extremists," the report states.
"The U.S. government continues to condemn the intimidation of Christian and Muslim religious groups by the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea and to draw international attention to these violations. The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has reported that the United States will continue to support religious freedom in Crimea, and will force the occupation authorities to return confiscated property and release prisoners convicted for their religious or political beliefs," the report notes.
Earlier, a report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported that Russia was among 14 countries in the world that the U.S. Department of State should list as "countries of particular concern". In particular, the report refers to violations by Russia of the right to freedom of religion in annexed Crimea.
Among the most high-profile cases of violations of human rights and religious rights, human rights activists list the so-called "Hizb ut-Tahrir cases" opened mainly against Muslims by the Russian occupation authorities, the persecution of "Jehovah's Witnesses" and the violation of the rights of the community of believers of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.