MOSCOW, November 30 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Presnensky District Court on Monday placed Vardan Zakaryan, a defendant in a case over organization of a cell of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religious community banned in Russia, under house arrest until January 23, the court’s press service told RAPSI.
The court dismissed a motion for the man’s detention lodged by investigators.
Last week, the court placed for other defendants in the case under house arrest.
Alleged organizers and members of Jehovah’s Witnesses were arrested in Moscow on November 24.
According to investigators, in June 2019 the group created a cell of the banned organization in northeastern Moscow. Secret gatherings were held in a flat where the doctrine’s followers in particular read religious literature propagating the Jehovah’s Witnesses ideas. It was also found that the cell’s members recruited new members to the organization.
In April 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia ordered liquidation of the Jehovah's Witnesses managing organization and all its 395 local branches. In August, the Administrative Centre of Jehovah's Witnesses was added to the list of banned extremist organizations.
Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization has had many legal problems in Russia. Since 2009, 95 materials distributed by the organization in the country have been declared extremist and 8 Jehovah's Witnesses’ branches have been liquidated, according to the Justice Ministry.
Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization based in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2004 several branches and chapters of the organization were banned and shut down in various regions of Russia.