DOCUMENT: OPEN LETTER TO RUSSIAN PRESIDENT V.V. PUTIN
5 April 2017
Profoundly esteemed Vladimir Vladimirovich, peace to you!
On 15 March 2017 the Russian Ministry of Justice filed in the Supreme Court of the RF a lawsuit for the liquidation of the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" and for the banning of the activity of the religious organization for extremism. Consideration of the lawsuit is scheduled for 5 April.
Simultaneously, by an order of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian federation of 15 March 2017 "Concerning the suspension of activity of a religious organization" in connection with the appeal to the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice suspended the activity of the religious organization Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and local religious organizations that are members of its structure.
Inasmuch as the right to freedom of conscience is exercised by individuals through joint participation in one or another form of activity of religious associations and is expressed in the possibility to conduct joint activities for exercising and disseminating their convictions, the closing of religious organizations of the Jehovah's Witnesses will lead to the restriction of freedom of conscience of tens of thousands of citizens of the Russian federation who confess the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Despite our disagreement in the strictly religious sphere, to wit, theological dispute with the teachings and certain practices of Jehovah's Witnesses, we express our profound concern with the situation of the religious organization Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia in the sphere of the exercise of their constitutional rights to freedom of conscience and religious confession.
Esteemed Vladimir Vladimirovich! We ask you, as the guarantor of the constitution of the Russian federation, to protect the right of freedom of conscience of citizens of the Russian federation and do not permit the closing of religious organizations of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
With respect and prayer for you,
President of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists
(tr. by PDS, posted 6 April 2017)
Russian original posted on Portal-Credo.ru, 6 April 2017
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