Jehovah's Witnesses report negative effects of court's ruling


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 15 May 2017


Late in the evening of 6 May 2017, unidentified persons drove up in an automobile to a residence on MPS St. in the village of Novokhopersky (Voronezh province) and broke glass in the apartment of a local resident who professes the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. The action was accompanied by shouts whose meaning the woman was not about to make out.


In addition, in the night of 14 May 2017 in the city of Ekaterinburg, on the porch of a building in which Jehovah's Witnesses conducted worship services, unidentified persons drew an insulting inscription.


The decision of the Supreme Court against the organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses, issued on 20 April 2017 and not having taken legal effect, evoked a wave of aggressive actions against adherents of this religion. Incidents occurred also in St. Petersburg, in Kaliningrad, Moscow, Penza, Rostov, and Tula provinces, and in Krasnoyarsk territory. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 May 2017)



Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 15 May 2017


Another incident of the violation of the right to alternative civilian service occurred in Chuvashia. On 12 May 2017, in the city of Shumerlya, a draft commission refused the constitutional right to alternative civilian service for 18-year-old Avel Lukin, for whom performing military service contradicts his convictions. One of the members of the draft commission, appealing to the decision of the Supreme Court against the organizations of Jehovah's witnesses, said to the young man: "You may keep your convictions to yourself, and your faith, too."


Avel was issued a summons to appear on 22 May 2017 for dispatch to processing for military service. He intends to appeal the decision of the draft commission. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 May 2017)



Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 15 May 2017


Against the background of the judicial proceedings against organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses, several children who are being trained in accordance with biblical morality have begun experiencing unprecedented pressure on the part of teachers and police personnel.


On 28 March 2017, in the city of Ufa (Bashkortostan), a police officer, A. Rozhkin, arrived at the home of a family with several children and, finding the oldest son, asked for a written explanation regarding their religious confession. When the mother approached, with her daughters, the officer demanded explanations of why the woman "involves minor children in extremist activity" (which does not correspond to reality). The woman refused to provide an explanation, and the older daughter began recording the officer's words on her cell phone camera. Subsequently the police have continued to put pressure on the family.


On 17 April 2017, in one of the schools of Rodionovo-Nesvetaisk district of Rostov province, the class director summoned out of class a 14-year-old girl to the office of the school's director, who had previously taken her telephone from her. In the office, police officer A. Yunyaev, and also a man in civilian clothes, began telling the girl that her Mama forces her to go to a "terrorist organization," in which "they are robbed" and "taught to kill people." The official brought the child to tears by frightening the child, hurting her feelings, and falsely claiming that the Jehovah's Witnesses allegedly would "strap her up and send her to blow up the school." They urged the girl "to rat on her Mama and not go to meetings." "If you wish, read the Bible at home, and do not go anywhere," they said. "Just read our Bible, from the Church."


On 24 April 2017, in one of the schools of Pizhansk district of Kirov province, two pupils of the sixth grade, sisters from a family of Jehovah's Witnesses, in a music class refused to perform a song whose text extols military actions and murder (which contradicts the religious convictions of the family). Although the teacher knows the views of this family, she sent the children from the classroom to search for another song, with a raised voice, which brought them to tears. In front of the whole class the teacher said to the girls: "You are now banned, and we are fed up with your religion." Later in a conversation with the girls' Mama, the teacher said: "You are now extremists and there will be no mercy." Nevertheless, the family managed to get agreement on performance of a song about nature, which does not contradict their views. The teacher graded the girls down "for a song off-topic."


According to legislation in effect in Russia, parents have the preemptive right over all other persons to teach and train their children. It is on the parents that the Family Code imposes the duty of concern for the "spiritual and moral development of their children." (tr. by PDS, posted 15 May 2017)

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