JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES HAVE NOT RECEIVED DOCUMENTS FROM JUSTICE MINISTRY ABOUT SUSPENSION OF ACTIVITY
Representative of organization says it is ready to defend its rights in all judicial instances
TASS, 24 March 2017
The Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia has not received from the Ministry of Justice documents regarding the suspension of the activity of the organization. A representative of the press service, Ivan Bilenko, reported this to TASS.
"We have not received anything from the Ministry of Justice. They (Ministry of Justice—TASS note) posted on their website a notice that our activity is suspended, and no more than this. They said that they sent all documents by post. Therefore we have not even seen just what it is that the justice ministry has suspended with respect to our organization," he said.
Bilenko said that the organization "regards this fact as extremely disturbing," since the decision may affect "175 thousand actively practicing believers."
He also said that the organization is ready to defend its rights in all judicial instances. "Certainly we will defend our rights in court. We very much hope that the decision of the Supreme Court will be in favor of the Jehovah's Witnesses. But whether we will appeal the decision of the court if we are found to be extremist, I reply that we will and of this there are no doubts," he added.
On 23 March [sic—previous reports said this happened on 15 March, tr.], the Ministry of Justice of Russia suspended the activity of the organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" because it conducts extremist activity. Consideration of the lawsuit of the Ministry of Justice of the RF for finding the Jehovah's Witnesses to be an extremist organization and for liquidating and prohibiting its activity on the territory of the country is scheduled for 5 April in the Supreme Court of the RF. The justice ministry's lawsuit points to the discovery during an unscheduled inspection of various violations in conducting the activity of the organization, including violations of the federal law "On combating extremist activity." (tr. by PDS, posted 25 March 2017)
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