Rights advocate summarizes attempts to ban Jehovah's Witnesses


SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 26 January 2016


The prosecutor's office of Belgorod has asked a court to close two organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses for extremism.


In January 2016 it was reported that the Belgorod provincial court initiated proceedings on an application from the acting prosecutor of the province for terminating the activity of congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgorod and Stary Oskol. The prosecutor's office is asking for the liquidation of the religious organizations because of the extremist activity that they engage in. The lawsuit applications reached the court on 30 December 2015.


This is not the first instance of prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgorod province. Thus it was the district court in Belgorod that in March of 2015 prohibited the brochures "The Son wants to reveal the Father" and "Was life created." At the same time, in October it was reported that experts did not find evidence of extremism in several other brochures of the Jehovah's Witnesses that were confiscated in Belgorod.


As of now, congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Taganrog, Samara, and Abinsk of Krasnodar territory have been ruled to be extremist, while in Taganrog, 16 Jehovah's Witnesses were found guilty for continuing the activity of the congregation. Also the prosecutor's office in Cherkessia sought the liquidation of a local organization in 2015. An attempt to close a congregation in Gorno-Altaisk ended unsuccessfully for the prosecutor's office. The Moscow congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses was the first to be liquidated back in 2004, although the issue began long before the adoption of the law "On combating extremist activity." The congregation managed to register again only in 2015.


We consider the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses and the prohibition of their texts because of extremism to be illegal and we perceive them as religious discrimination. (tr. by PDS, posted 28 January 2016)

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