Russia targets Jehovah’s Witnesses with arrest, raiding of homes

ABC News’ Patrick Reevell uncovers some of the alleged abuse in Russia directed at Jehovah’s Witnesses since 2017, as Russian officials announced why they are targeting the religious group.
8:04 | 07/21/21

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Transcript for Russia targets Jehovah’s Witnesses with arrest, raiding of homes
There are an estimated eight million Jehovah's Witnesses around the world and most meet and practice their religion free from threat. But in Russia the group was just banned under an anti extremism walling usually meant for dangerous and violent organizations. Our Patrick read all along with thirteen have been investigating the crackdown on this peaceful group. And they bring us this in depth report that some may find shocking. Since 2017. Russia's been persecuting the Jehovah's Witnesses. People are being innocent people are being gay and their houses have been painted. No one can really explain line. But they get a Canadian mortgage interest must cross. California national fish count. Just on 20/20. We traveled here to this it's you've soon boot when nearly two dozen Jehovah's Witnesses face criminal challenges. Three years ago Russia banned the Christian religious group is extremist. A week the prosecution and a rests its fullest. The local community we're attending this court hearing. And solidarity with a one of the men. But even before the hearing started. Police arrived to someone else. The fifth. There's little. Yeah when it. You wanna be positions. You love the ones you. Yeah. We live of course I'm gonna. And he continues woman and you just just machines were wounded. Yet but I did the study tips skeptics when it's it to death sentence Smith of the preakness this new unit until she Phillips community. This is when you believe this time it please include you. Cool blue route out of gold blue and but the woman. The judge belonged restrictions on the other defendants. And the crowd started to leave the court building. But the police wins giving up so easily. Okay. I'm like okay. Two Chris what can you please visit the war for that you know. The ocean truly. Yeah it's. Yeah. Since the plan police have raided hundreds of jehovah's witness comes. Hundreds have been arrested dozens are in detention some sentenced to over six years in prison. The only thing that says he's still he's guessing together. Speaking about in the region. And pretty again. I'm days heat. She says as tensions scrimmage. Call. Jehovah's Witnesses have together in secret now in went to 2019 we attended a prayer meeting. Since then he succumbed to dangerous to show people's faces. There's nothing extreme at these meetings where people pray and read the Bible. Jehovah's Witnesses identify as Christian. They share similar beliefs with mainstream Christian churches. But have a number specific to them. Then members of Laura biting and little ordinary lives the DNC extremism no use to ban the Jehovah's Witnesses equates them with violent groups like crisis when neo Nazis. More. Action I don't know if for the past twenty years teach people need to laugh. Should people Ripa lights. To beat Texas. Two more cost I don't action I don't know why. In some regions like certain goods and campaign against the Jehovah's Witnesses as allegedly tipped into torture. Okay. Us. Joseph cool kids festival which you don't care. Which but the mortgage from acute legitimate give polish. Or is that this is. Offensive boards but it would be able to look precocious things will go off color story from work yesterday we should their vicious. Whom she. High school expansion review but the recruitment social. What can protect. I. These men also saying they were tortured that day by police. Here for the Libya cope with the you put that in the food don't defeat here but you know not only knew Gene Chizik T. He craziness. Congress returned. Particularly good you know that he needs to give special sessions leadership. Pope nickel when your information to us because Hoffman. The thunder from it was. The difference that you only get on with us live. Phone Booth there was that on the portraits of school that in him Wu. And when you Bristol can keep that you must he preaches a chimp with Kidd. We are you pick up when you my condition Kim was an aging usually a woman was weird. But the being in the chairs for. What did you do overs and divorced. Just was a mobile wound. Many people have been trying to figure that out but found clinging religion news. There are also speculations. Capital witnesses. Isn't a medical organizations. Did say asses thanks. Thankfully doesn't explain much. Some have suggested the Russian Orthodox Church may have a role in the campaign. Another theory is that Jehovah's Witnesses are just easy targets the police. That they are victims of the biggest crackdown in Russia with plasma Putin's rule has become far more authoritarian. The same and she extremism you'll used to prosecute the Jehovah's Witnesses has now been ten and the Kremlin's main opposition and mixing of old niece movement. The thing that is clear is that the campaign is getting worse since be began filming it spread to most. I. Unity amid below two was arrested several months of two recent decision he now faces up to six years in prison on extremism charges. Point 00. Slow to show. In me and some quarter rushed to attach old. Storm. Couple function calls from the liberty. Most took too important to me. Young said that I wish there was a contradiction to what will put almost got me and I addition. Took you can not saw. Mind wolf what took condition social at this means. Thanks to Patrick for revealing that story choice.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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