UNPRECEDENTED NEWS: RUSSIAN JUSTICE MINISTRY SEEKS THE IMMEDIATE AND TOTAL BAN OF A MAJOR RELIGION
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 20 March 2017
To liquidate not only the Administrative Center but also all 395 local religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses. To confiscate immediately all houses of worship belonging to these organizations. To find the Administrative Center to be an extremist organization and to prohibit its activity. This is being sought by the Ministry of Justice, the body that determines the religious policy in the country.
Believers learned about the plans of the Ministry of Justice in the chancery of the Russian Supreme Court while acquainting themselves with the text of the plaintiff's declaration. The court has already set the date of the hearing—5 April 2017.
"If the Ministry of Justice achieves its [goal], any of the 175,000 believers may face up to 10 years in prison simply for confessing one's own faith," says Vasily Kalin from the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. "Recently, after the liquidation of a registered congregation in Taganrog, 16 of our brothers and sisters in the faith were sentenced to large fines and several even to a 5-year suspended prison term—just for joint reading of the Bible. This was an illustration."
It is noteworthy that 66 years ago, also in April, the stalinist government conducted an operation under the code name "North." "I recall the April night in 1951," says Vasily Kalin. "At the time eight and a half thousand believers of our religion, that is, practically all, were deprived of their homes and taken to Siberia for permanent settlement. The life of thousands of believer was irreparably broken. Hundreds and hundreds passed through the camps. But they did not renounce their faith. And they did not become bitter. They always remained peaceful people, as Christ also commanded. Subsequently the state recognized us as victims of political repressions. And how blasphemously we again find ourselves in the position of dangerous criminals!" (tr. by PDS, posted 21 March 2017)
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