VORONEZH PROVINCIAL COURT DEFENDS JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Provincial court quashes decision suspending activity of Voronezh congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses
SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 3 March 2017
On 2 March 2017, the Voronezh provincial court rescinded the order of the Lenin district court of Voronezh of 20 December 2016 suspending the activity of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses for 45 days.
In December 2016 the organization was found guilty of possession of extremist materials for purposes of mass distribution (article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law). On 9 October, in the worship premises of the Jehovah's Witnesses where about 650 were in attendance, forbidden literature was found in the space between a wall and a stand and also under a carpet that was nailed to the floor. Believers maintained that the literature had been planted. The provincial court took the Jehovah's Witnesses' side, considering that testimony of prosecution witnesses was contradictory and the occurrence of a violation of law was not proven.
We welcome the decision of the Voronezh provincial court and we recall that in general we consider that the literature of Jehovah's Witnesses is forbidden as extremist illegally and, consequently, prosecution of believers for its distribution is illegal. We think that such action by the authorities is religious discrimination. (tr. by PDS, posted 3 March 2017)
Source: Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 3 March 2017
Jehovah's Witnesses appeal to favorable ruling of Constitutional Court
February 14, 2017
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