TWO JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES PUBLICATIONS RULED EXTREMIST IN SEROV
SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 14 June 2016
On 14 June 2016 it was learned from another update of the Federal List of Extremist Materials that on 19 February 2016 a Serov district court of Sverdlovsk province banned two publications of Jehovah's Witnesses. These were a brochure, "Listen to God,' and an issue of the magazine Awake for January 2015 with a lead article "How did life appear?".
"Listen to God" is a small book with colorful illustrations whose entire text consists of brief quotations from the Bible in the New World Translation, that is, the Russian translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The forbidden issue of the magazine Awake covers the question of the appearance of life from the point of view of the Jehovah's Witnesses and it also describes the unique shape of a honey comb, gives advice on restraining anger and answers to questions about the implication of God in the sufferings of people, and publishes brief news about Costa Rica and an interview with a sick girl. The reasons for banning the publication are unknown to us, but we note that in both there is a reference to the website of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which was prohibited in Russia.
We consider the ban of these two publications for extremism to be illegal. We consider in general finding publications of Jehovah's Witnesses and prosecution of believers for their distribution to be religious discrimination.
Previously, in the autumn of 2015, a former founder of the local religious organization in Serov was fined for possession of extremist materials for the purpose of mass distribution. A warning about the impermissibility of extremist activity was issued to the congregation and the Jehovah's Witnesses did not succeed in appealing its legality in court. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 June 2016)
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