Russian state media on Tuesday reported that Russian authorities had detained leaders of the local organisation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses because the religion is banned in the country.
The Christian faith, which does not observe many traditional doctrines including Christmas and Easter because it considers them tinged with paganism, is outlawed in Russia on the assertion that it is extremist.
Investigative Committee spokesperson Yulia Ivanova said in comments carried by state news agency TASS that “a number of organisers and members of the movement have been identified and detained.’’
Ivanova said “such Jehovah’s Witnesses were aware that their religion had been banned and were practising it in clandestine meetings.’’
The spokesperson said raids of suspected Jehovah’s Witnesses locations are being conducted in Moscow and more than 20 other Russian regions.
Russian courts have previously sentenced members of the organisation to several years in prison.