Appeal of Tikhoretsk Jehovah's Witnesses denied by court


SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 30 May 2016


The Krasnodar territorial court found to be legal a warning issued to Jehovah's Witnesses for distributing brochures that were not on the Federal List of Extremist Materials.


On 27 May 2016, the prosecutor's office of Krasnodar territory reported that on 24 May the Krasnodar territorial court left without change a decision of the Tikhoretsk city court of 17 December 2015 regarding the legality of a warning about the impermissibility of extremist activity that was issued to the local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.


The local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Tikhoretsk challenged the legality of the warning, received on 28 July 2015. The basis for the prosecutor's sanction was the fact that on 2 May 2015, a member of the congregation displayed on a stand literature of the Jehovah's Witnesses, including two copies of a publication "Was life created?" Since at that time the brochure had already been declared extremist but still had not been entered onto the Federal List of Extremist Materials, personnel of the city department of the "E" Center [Center for combating extremism] did not want to open an administrative case against adherents of Jehovah's Witnesses. Nevertheless, after the court's decision to ban the brochure took effect on 11 June 2015, the Tikhoretsk district prosecutor's offices decided to issue the warning to the congregation.


This was not the first warning about the impermissibility of extremist activity issued to the Tikhoretsk congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. It was reported earlier that a similar sanction by the prosecutor's office was applied to this religious organization in April 2015 after a member of the congregation was fined for distributing forbidden literature.


We consider prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses and prohibition of their texts for extremism to be improper and we consider them to be religious discrimination. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 May 2016)


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