JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES' BROCHURE SEIZED IN URALS
by Alexander Belyaev
Moskovskii Komsomolets Ekaterinburg, 18 October 2016
In one of the shopping centers of Serov, representatives of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses were distributing a 16-page brochure "How did life appear?" The prosecutor's office decided to check the publication and sent it for several expert analyses, which established that the publication contains statements aimed at inciting hatred and hostility toward other religions.
The Serov city prosecutor sent an appeal to a court to rule the brochure to be extremist materials. A complex forensic religious studies psycho-linguistic expert analysis was ordered and the arguments of specialists were heard, who agreed in the opinion that "the contents of the literature pointed to the exclusivity and superiority of the teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses over other religions." According to the opinion of the specialists, it also contained a justification of the use of force against representatives of another faith.
The court found the brochure to be extremist material and issued a decision concerning the confiscation of this publication. The defendants did not agree with the court's decision and filed an appeal. An attorney for the association tried to persuade the court that confiscation of a printed work is a violation of the civil rights to own brochures as property. He also petitioned that the Russian Ministry of Justice be prohibited from publishing a list of extremist materials that includes the aforementioned publication.
The provincial court left the appeal without consideration, inasmuch as the rights and obligations of the congregation are not affected by the court's decision. (tr. by PDS, posted 28 October 2016)
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