Russian Court Finds Jehovah's Witness Guilty On Extremism Charge

A Russian court has found a Jehovah’s Witness guilty of being a member of the now-banned religious group -- the second such ruling against the group’s believers this year.

The U.S.-based denomination said a district court in the western city of Oryol also fined Sergei Skrynnikov 350,000 rubles ($5,320) in its April 1 ruling.

According to the statement, Skrynnikov's case stemmed out of another probe launched against Dennis Christensen, a Danish Jehovah's Witness who was found guilty in February of "organizing the activity of an extremist organization" and sentenced to six years in prison.

The Jehovah's Witnesses have been under intense pressure since the Russian Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that it was an “extremist" organization. The group has reported a growing number of raids, detentions and torture of its adherents across Russia in recent months.

Headquartered in the U.S. state of New York, the Jehovah's Witnesses have long been viewed with suspicion in Russia and elsewhere for its members' views about military service, voting, and government authority in general.

The group says it has about 170,000 adherents in Russia.