FOLLOWING THE R.F., AUTHORITIES OF SOUTH OSSETIA INTEND TO BAN JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Majority of countries consider South Ossetia occupied Georgian territory
Portal-Credo.Ru, 19 July 2017
The prosecutor general of South Ossetia, Uruzmag Dzhagaev, addressed the Supreme Court of that country with a plaintiff's declaration for finding the religious association of the Jehovah's Witnesses to be "extremist" and prohibiting its activity on the territory of the republic.
"Sputnik-Ossetia" reports on 19 July that in his declaration the prosecutor general noted that the Investigative Department of the ministry received a report that literature and ideas of an "extremist character" were disseminated and promoted in meetings of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Searches were conducted in homes of Jehovah's Witnesses living in South Ossetia, in which siloviki seized religious literature which was included in the "list of extremist materials."
"In the course of an inspection it was established that Jehovah's Witnesses operate on territory of the republic without registration and without inclusion on the account of tax authorities and they conduct their activity in violation of the requirements of the law and they act in a way that tends toward the disruption of religious unity of the Ossetian people," the prosecutor general's lawsuit says.
Dzhagaev calls the court's attention to the fact that Jehovah's Witnesses forbid blood transfusion for religious reasons, "which poses a threat not only to their health but also to society and the state." "Besides this, the organization resists the participation of its devotees in fulfilling their civic cuties—elections, service in the army—and they clearly demonstrate their hatred toward people who believe differently, primarily toward Orthodox and national traditions and customs of the Ossetians," the document says.
According to the commissioner for religious affairs of South Ossetia, Sonya Khubaeva, religious associations operating on the territory of the republic for a decade are working illegally. The Jehovah's Witnesses have often submitted documents for registration to the republican Ministry of Justice, but every time they were turned down because their religious organization is a "destructive sect whose activity bears an extremist character." The basis for such contentions was not explained for the applicants by officials. "According to law, religious associations that do not register with the Ministry of Justice in the manner established by law do not have the right to operate on the territory of our republic," Khubaeva said.
According to information of Portal-Credo.Ru's sources, in the region --which Georgia calls Tskhinvalis, and Russia, South Ossetia--there are about 2,000 Jehovah's Witnesses, while the nominal total of the population at the end of 2016 was 53,500 persons. According to information of a number of experts, only from 20 to 40 thousand inhabitants reside permanently on the territory of the region. South Ossetia is recognized as an independent state by the Russian federation, which actually controls its territory (4,000 Russian troops are permanently stationed on the territory of the region), and by Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, and Vanuatu. South Ossetia also was recognized by the tiny Pacific Ocean state of Tuvalu, but subsequently it reconsidered its position. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a special resolution about recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as integral parts of Georgia, of which they were a part in the period of the existence of the USSR. In April 2015, South Ossetia became the only "partially recognized" state that recognized the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic, which are, according to Ukraine's qualification, "terrorist organizations," and it opened its embassies in Donetsk and Luhansk, on what is internationally recognized as territory of Ukraine. (tr. by PDS, posted 20 July 2017)
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