MOSCOW, March 4 (RAPSI) – A criminal case has been launched against five alleged members of a regional cell of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religious organization banned in Russia, according to a statement published by the Investigative Committee’s press service.

Investigators believe the defendants organized the cell of the banned organization in Russia’s Syktyvkar, the Republic of Komi, held group gatherings and recruited new members to it.

One defendant is in detention, two others are under house arrest and two more were released on travel restrictions, the statement reads.

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.