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Russia rounds up Jehovah’s Witnesses

Patriarch Kirill, the Russian Orthodox leader, supports President Putin’s ban on “imported” religionsALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Armed police officers have arrested at least 17 Jehovah’s Witnesses during raids on their homes across Russia.
A court ruled last year that the Christian denomination was an extremist organisation, placing it on a par with Islamic State and neo-Nazi groups, and its followers face up to ten years in jail.
Roman Markin, 44, was detained after officers with automatic weapons broke down his door in the Arctic city of Murmansk. “They forced him and his 16-year-old daughter to the floor at gunpoint,” Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a spokesman for the European Association of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses, said. The police are alleged to have tried to force followers to renounce their faith in exchange for their freedom.
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