SUPREME COURT DECIDES TO LIQUIDATE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
They are preparing an appeal
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 20 April 2017
The date of 20 April 2017 has a chance to enter into history as a black day for fundamental human freedoms in Russia. Today the Supreme Court made the decision to liquidate the centralized religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, as well as all 395 local religious organizations of this religion. In historical perspective, this decision may lead to the saddest consequences for all believers of various religious confessions, as well as for the image of Russia in the world arena. A quashing of this decision in the appellate instance-- a panel consisting of three Supreme Court judges—may save the situation.
Believers have already begun to prepare the appellate request, which should be considered within a month.
Meanwhile concern about the actions of the Ministry of Justice and also about the decision of the court of the first instance is being expressed by numerous organizations both within Russia as well as beyond its borders. "This judicial lawsuit poses a threat not only for Jehovah's Witnesses but also for individual liberty on the whole in the Russian federation," special reporters of the United Nations declared, acting within the framework of a mandate received from the Council for Human Rights of the UNO. "We call upon the authorities, following their obligations according to international law in the area of human rights, to halt judicial proceedings and to reconsider the legislation about the struggle with extremism and the practice of its application." (tr. by PDS, posted 20 April 2017)
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