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Spy agency: Russia TV ‘demonized’ religious group in Estonia

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Estonia’s intelligence agency says a Russian state-controlled television station has been portraying members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Estonia in “a hostile and ridiculing” way.

Estonia’s Internal Security Service says “part of the Kremlin’s arsenal of influence is the harassment of various social groups.”

The agency says that two reporters from Russia-1 last year used hidden cameras in Tallinn “to explain the reasons for outlawing the religious group, so its members are demonized,” adding the program was aired Nov. 29 in Russia.

The service wrote Friday in its annual report that Yelena Yerofejeva and Pavel Kostrikov were each given a five-year ban from entering Europe’s Schengen passport-free zone because of “religious discrimination” activities.

Russia officially banned Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017 and declared the group an extremist organization.

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