Trial to eliminate Arkhangelsk Jehovah's Witnesses begins


Pomorie, 27 April 2016


The sect of Jehovah's Witnesses in Arkhangelsk may be liquidated. This morning in provincial court a preliminary hearing on the case began. Representatives of the organization asked that the session be postponed. The reason indicated was the involvement of a second lawyer in another judicial proceeding and lack of time for familiarization with materials of the case. However the court rejected the petition. It is intended to liquidate the sect because of distribution of literature that has been ruled to be extremist.


Anton Omelchenko, lawyer: "The question is why is it necessary to liquidate a local religious organization if the prosecutor was not able to provide documents about the religious organization's acquiring this literature, or about its storage, or about its distribution."


Klavdiia Lepekha, senior prosecutor of the Department for Guaranteeing Participation of Prosecutors in Civil and Arbitration Proceedings of the prosecutor's office of Arkhangelsk province: "We suggest that actually in this case the organization channels and distributes this literature, and in this case stores and distributes literature that has been classified as extremist. This poses the question of finding the organization extremist and of its liquidation."


At the present time the judicial session is continuing. Details on the evening broadcasts of regional news. (tr. by PDS, posted 28 April 2016)



SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 27 April 2016


The Arkhangelsk congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses is accused of distributing forbidden brochures.


On 27 April 2016 in the Arkhangelsk provincial court consideration of a lawsuit of the provincial prosecutor's office for the liquidation of the local division of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses "Central" as an extremist organization began.


The congregation is charged with distribution of forbidden brochures. We recall that on 4 February 2016 the Arkhangelsk provincial court ruled a warning from the prosecutor's office about the impermissibility of extremist activity carried out by the Arkhangelsk local organization of Jehovah's Witnesses on 11 June 2015 to be legal. The warning was issued after FSB personnel conducted a series of searches in the premises of the Kingdom Hall and apartments of Arkhangelsk believers. According to a statement of the FSB, as a result about 400 copies of forbidden literature were seized. In the middle of March 2016 a rally with the demand to liquidate the congregation was held in Arkhangelsk.


We note that the head of the congregation, Alexander Parygin, who was recently fined for distributing forbidden literature, submitted to the Ministry of Justice himself a request for the liquidation of his organizations in October 2015.


We recall that we regard the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses and the ban of their texts under the pretext of the struggle with extremism to be religious discrimination. (tr. by PDS, posted 29 April 2016)

Background article:
Campaign against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russian north
March 9, 2016

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