Supreme Court Bans Jehovah's Witnesses In Russia

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 20, 2017

According to Sputnik News, Judge Yuri Ivanenko said: 'The Supreme Court has ruled to sustain the claim of Russia's Ministry of Justice and deem the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" organization extremist, eliminate it and ban its activity in Russian Federation'.

The ruling means the group's Russia headquarters in St. Petersburg and local chapters must shut down, and the country will seize property owned by the group, according to Russian news agencies. The order makes it illegal for the group to hold meetings or distribute any information about themselves, or any published and printed material. The ban will not come into force until after the group's appeal is heard.

Authorities have put several of the group's publications on a list of banned extremist literature.

Russia's Supreme Court has banned the Jehovah's Witnesses, deeming them an "extremist" organisation.

Justice Yury Ivanenko in his verdict on Thursday, said Russia had made a decision to close down "the administrative centre of Jehovah's Witnesses and the local organisations in its fold and turn their property over to the Russian Federation".

Jehovah's Witnesses pray at a regional congress at Traktar Stadium in Minsk, Belarus, July 25, 2015. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2010 that the move had violated the rights of freedom of religion and association.

The Supreme Court ruling, which followed six days of hearings, marks the first time Russian Federation has banned an organized religious organization, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

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