Multiple Jehovah's Witnesses arrested in Russia


Eastern Europe


Jehovah's Witnesses are seen as extremists in Russia. Picture is from an earlier court case in 2019. Photo AFP, Mladen Antonov

Russian investigators have completed an investigation against "extremist" Jehovah's Witnesses. The two 44-year-old men have to go to court now to defend themselves.

The two men are accused of organising activities of an extremist organisation, a spokeswoman from the Russian authorities told reporters on Tuesday. This writes the Russian news agency Interfax.

According to the spokeswomen, secret gatherings were held in an apartment, where the faithful “studied religious literature and information contained in other sources of information that propagate the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses.” Furthermore, the men are accused of carrying out “other activities characteristic of this association."


On the same day, January 18th, a court in southwestern Russia has handed a two-year prison term to a Jehovah's Witness. The judge sentenced Maksim Beltikov on January 17 after finding him guilty of taking part in the activities of "extremist organization." These reports RadioFreeEurope. Prosecutors sought a three-year prison term for the 41-year-old father of three.

In 2017, the Russian Supreme Court issued a verdict upholding the claim from the country's Justice Ministry that Jehovah's Witnesses' activity violated laws on "extremism". Since then, dozens of Jehovah's Witnesses have either been convicted of extremism or have been held in pretrial detention.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.