Supreme Court hearing recessed until tomorrow


Interfax-Religiia, 6 April 2017


The Ministry of Justice of the Russian federation will ask the Supreme Court to confiscate the property of the organization, in the event of recognition of Russian Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist and of a ban on the activity of the organization on Russian territory.


"After the liquidation, the property of the organization is subject to conversion into state property," Svetlana Borisova, an attorney for the Ministry of Justice, said in the Russian Supreme Court on Thursday.


She said that the religious organization has immovable property that is subject to conversion to the use of the Russian federation.


The plaintiff maintains that the lawsuit was filed in order to strengthen legality, prevent violations of the interests of security, and prevent extremist activity in the RF.


"The religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses has indicators of extremist activity. They represent a threat to the rights of citizens, public order, and public safety," S. Borisova declared.


The lawyer for the ministry told the court about the great quantity of administrative violations of law, particularly such as distribution of extremist literature, which were committed by regional representations of Jehovah's Witnesses.


She said that forbidden printed materials of Jehovah's Witnesses proclaim exclusivity and also inferiority or superiority on the basis of the principle of adherence to a religion.


"Despite the inclusion in the list of extremist literature, instances were established of the distribution of forbidden printed materials, particularly the periodical "Watchtower," the justice ministry's attorney said.


In the capacity of threats to human safety, the Ministry of Justice lawyers name the prohibition of blood transfusion, which the Jehovah's Witnesses promote.


The sessions of the trial will continue on 7 April.

(tr. by PDS, posted 6 April 2017)



RIA Novosti, 6 April 2017


The Russian Ministry of Justice accused the Jehovah's Witnesses organization of denying its members blood transfusion, an RIA Novosti correspondent reports from the courtroom of the Supreme Court of the RF.


On Thursday, the Russian Supreme Court continued the trial of the lawsuit of the Ministry of Justice for finding the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses to be extremist and for banning this organization.


"An expert analysis of informational brochures of the Jehovah's Witnesses was conducted and specialists came to the conclusion that the information contained in them represents a threat for health," Svetlana Borisova, a lawyer for the ministry, said.


In addition she cited an instance where a sick child was denied a blood transfusion, since that contradicted the religious views of his parents, who were Jehovah's Witnesses.


The justice ministry is sure that the work of the Jehovah's Witnesses engenders a threat to the protection of rights and interests of society and public safety, the ministry's lawyer pointed out.


In the course of the trial it was reported that courts in Russia have ruled 95 brochures of Jehovah's Witnesses to be extremist and have prohibited their distribution in the RF.


A lawyer for the organization noted that rejection of blood transfusion is not extremism and that such actions are not in the law on combating extremist activity. At the same time, he noted, the Ministry of Justice has introduced only a single instance when doctors suggested to parents two alternative means of treatment, one of which included blood transfusion. But the parents wanted to treat the child with medications.


"Every citizen, whether a Jehovah's Witness or not, has the right to refuse blood transfusion and to choose treatment by means of taking tablets," the organization's lawyer noted. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 April 2017)



Portal-Credo.Ru, 6 April 2017


Russian Supreme Court Judge Ivanenko, presiding in the case for liquidation of religious organizations of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, ban of this confession, and confiscation of its property, declared a recess in the judicial session until 10 a.m. on 7 April, a Portal-Credo.Ru correspondent reports.


The court session of 6 April began with a declaration of a petition of the defendants (the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia) for a suspension of the hearing because yesterday private appeals were filed against the refusal of the court on 5 April to grant a majority of 17 petitions submitted on that day. The court also turned down this petition. At the same time, the court added to the case more than 30 volumes of materials proving the non-participation of Jehovah's Witnesses in "extremist activity."


A lawyer of the Ministry of Justice delivered the arguments of her ministry in favor of liquidation and a ban of the activity of JW in Russia. The judge called attention to a number of contradictions in the plaintiff's arguments, in particular, the justice ministry does not have any documents confirming that the JW prohibit providing medical care to its members.


Responding to questions of lawyers, the justice ministry's lawyer acknowledged that her ministry does not have information about a violation by the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia of a ban on distribution of publications that were ruled to be "extremist," and also she reported that the ministry knows about the dispatch of pertinent information by the center to local religious JW organizations. The lawyers also recalled that dozens of expert analyses of JW literature have been conducted by expert institutions subordinate to the Ministry of justice, while a substantial portion of these expert analyses did not discover indicators of "extremism" in the literature, which subsequently was entered into the Federal List of Extremist Materials of the RF. Some of the literature was entered into that list on the basis of the presence in the publications of quotations from the Bible which "inflamed strife" toward nonbelievers, although at the present time there operates a prohibition in the RF on finding quotations from the Bible to be "extremist." (tr. by PDS, posted 6 April 2017)

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