Russia bans Jehovah’s Witnesses – Group to appeal ruling

Russia bans Jehovah’s Witnesses – Group to appeal ruling

Independent:Russia has banned Jehovah’s Witnesses after the Supreme Court ruled the Christian sect to be an “extremist” group.

“The Supreme Court has ruled to sustain the claim of Russia’s ministry of justice and deem the ‘Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia’ organisation extremist, eliminate it and ban its activity in Russia,” said judge Yuri Ivanenko.

“The property of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation is to be confiscated to the state revenue.”

A lawyer for the justice ministry, Svetlana Borisova, told the court adherents “pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security”.

Judges ordered the closure of the group’s Russian headquarters and 395 local chapters, as well as the seizure of its property.

Lawyers for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said they would appeal the court’s decision, which has not yet come into effect, and could take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We will do everything possible,” Sergei Cherepanov, a Jehovah’s Witnesses representative, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

In 2010, judges in Strasbourg found a previous ruling by a Russian court to ban the organisation unlawful.

The ministry of justice had previously applied for an order to shut down its national headquarters near St Petersburg, state media reported.

Its administrative centre, which has 175,000 members, had previously been suspended in March over alleged “extremist activity”.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are known for door-to-door preaching and handing out literature, reject some of mainstream Christianity’s core beliefs and have more than 8.3 million members around the world.

The US-based group has generated controversy for stances including its rejection of blood transfusions and opposition to military service, facing court proceedings in several countries.

Representatives said hundreds of people gathered at the Russian Supreme Court to hear the six-day case, which they said was the culmination of a decade of “aggressive actions”.

David A Semonian, a spokesman at the sect’s world headquarters in New York, said the ministry of justice had “no basis” for its claims.

He said the ban would put members under threat of criminal prosecution even for praying together in a “violation of our basic human rights”.

Jehovah’s Witnesses first registered as a religious group in Russia in 1991 and registered again in 1999, but have been targeted repeatedly by authorities in a wide-ranging crackdown on religious freedom.

Russia changed its legal definition of extremism in 2006, removing requirements for violence or hatred but stating the “incitement of….religious discord” as criteria, leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses with the same legal status as Isis or Nazis.

The group’s international website was blocked in Russia two years ago over alleged extremism, with the group’s Bibles banned the following year, while a local chairman was jailed for two years on charges of possessing “extremist literature” in 2010.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was among the international bodies condemning a “state sponsored campaign of harassment and mistreatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses” it said dated back to the 1990s in Russia.

It listed police searches, assaults, arson attacks, vandalism, seizures and raids on worship, as well as the arrest of several members and criminal investigations

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15 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    April 20, 2017 at 9:37 pm Reply

    Ban them here too. So many times I tell those people not to come knocking on my door and leave their little books around the place.

    1. Anonymous
      April 21, 2017 at 10:01 am Reply

      Seriously? because you’re annoyed by them they should be ban, think before you type next time

    2. anon
      April 21, 2017 at 1:09 pm Reply

      thats just a totaltarian childsih way of dealing with things you dont like. there looking for people who have the heart condition to understand the bible , not you, if you dont like it , tell them to be put on a do not call list. what a society today throw anyone under the bus who midly offers an alternative to the death dealing machine wwe live in today. pathetic. how ironic thou that someday all those who fight against god will wish they had not.

  2. Teacher
    April 20, 2017 at 10:11 pm Reply

    Real. One principle of theirs l just can’t understand relates to restrictions placed on couples. I don’t see how these young married Jehovah Wittness followers can allow them to prevent them from having children. A friend of mine dropped out because he wanted to start a family. This is really absurd. Many people don’t realize this.

    1. Deb
      April 20, 2017 at 11:20 pm Reply

      JW view children as a gift from the creator and would never impose such restrictions on any couple. That is certainly not a principle as you call it followed by JW.

      1. Anonymous
        April 21, 2017 at 8:09 am Reply

        In subtle ways it is implied that it is best not to have.
        “Not wanting to bring them in the current system of things”
        “We are living in the last days”
        “It will interfere with the preaching work”

        I have JW friends both here and abroad and they talk.

        So we know what we are talking about.
        (Words deleted)

    2. jdjc
      April 20, 2017 at 11:36 pm Reply

      You can have a family even if a jehovah wittness

  3. 666
    April 20, 2017 at 11:18 pm Reply

    Ban all religion, more people have died because of it than anything else. Religion is quite evil!

  4. Shadrack Machengo
    April 20, 2017 at 11:20 pm Reply

    Jehovahs witneses is not ahuman being organization wait and see what jehovah God will do. The ban will not stop Rashias problemes in fact its when theire problemes will perssist. who plays around with Jehovahs people is playing with Jehovahs eye,will he let them condinue.

  5. Shadrack Machengo
    April 20, 2017 at 11:26 pm Reply

    Haleluya after the ban what next? They should be aware they may ban themselfs. they were ones a super power where are they today?.

  6. Anonymous
    April 21, 2017 at 8:11 am Reply

    Let me wait for all the “persecution” comments and quotes from the bible.
    BTW if you’ll think you’ll are being persecuted then want about the law abiding Muslims.
    I think they are more persecuted than JWs.

  7. smh
    April 21, 2017 at 10:45 am Reply

    And the holy war begins!

  8. Anonymous
    April 21, 2017 at 8:12 pm Reply

    Well well well . Ban the people who help me to understand the truth by a bible study. Help me to see that you cannot celebrate the death of Jesus the same day ever year and his birthday the same date every year. Well well well who should be banned???????

  9. Anonymous
    April 22, 2017 at 12:24 am Reply

    jw are very good peoples
    they said very important newes only

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