Local Jehovah's Witnesses congregations seek involvement in court proceedings


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 30 March 2017


The Ministry of Justice is demanding to liquidate, find extremist, ban, and confiscate the buildings of all 396 registered organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, including 22 organizations in Crimea. For the 8,000 believers on the peninsula, who have professed their religion freely for decades, this news was completely unexpected.


These 22 local religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the republic of Crimea were registered on the initiative of Russian authorities in May 2015. Since then they have not received from the state any charges, fines, or warnings. Therefore they are extremely perplexed with regard to the initiative of the Ministry of Justice to ban them and to recognize them as extremist.


Most disturbing is that the Ministry of Justice considered it possible to declare all these organizations outside the law—behind their back and without involving them in the case. The plaintiff's declaration—with much delay—was sent only to the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.


For this reason, 22 Crimean local religious organizations filed in the Supreme Court a petition for involving them in the case in the capacity of an administrative co-defendant. They recall that in the Russian federation the right to judicial protection is among the basic inalienable rights. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 March 2017)

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