Jehovah's Witnesses fear far-reaching consequences of fine levied on them


KozaPress, 25 January 2017


The press service of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia told Koza that the penalty by a court that imposed a fine on the chairman of the local division of this religious organization in Dzerzhinsk of Nizhny Novgorod province may have far-reaching consequences for freedom of religious confession in this city.


We recall that earlier we reported that the chairman of the committee of Jehovah's Witnesses in Dzerzhinsk was fined for two brochures that were discovered by representatives of the prosecutor's office in a toilet of the building where worship services of the sect are held.


Meanwhile the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses maintains that those materials, which have been ruled to be extremist, were planted.


According to information posted on the website of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, in the evening of 8 November 2016, not long before the start of a service, a senior assistant prosecutor of the city, Natalia Sukhova, entered the building under the pretext of a fire inspection, accompanied by an inspector from the Ministry of Emergency Situations and personnel in civilian clothing. Later a squad of police arrived.


"An officer in plain clothes discretely went into the toilet for people with disabilities. When he came out he declared that two religious brochures that are included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials were lying in the toilet. Since the brochures were not in the building before the arrival of the siloviki--and besides the Jehovah's Witnesses do not keep religious literature in the toilet--believers stated strongly that 'this was a plant and a provocation on the part of the persons who arrived.' The scheduled worship service was cancelled," the report that was distributed says.


"Jehovah's Witnesses decisively object to hanging the label of 'extremists' on them, stressing that extremism is profoundly alien to their views and ethics, which are based on the Bible," the source notes, adding that devotees of this sect do not use literature from the Federal List of Extremist Materials and they do not permit its appearance in their houses of worship. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 January 2017)

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