GROUNDS FOR BAN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ARE FEEBLE, MEMBER OF COUNCIL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS THINKS
by Anton Skripunov
RIA Novosti, 21 April 2017
The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) will likely take the side of the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses," since the grounds for the ban by the Russian Supreme Court are feeble, thinks Alexander Verkhovsky, a member of the presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights and director of the Sova Center for News and Analysis.
The Supreme Court found the activity of the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" to be extremist and banned its work. The court also confiscated the center's property. The center of Jehovah's Witnesses may appeal this decision. If it files an appeal, the order regarding the ban will, for a time, not take legal effect. However the Ministry of Justice earlier had already suspended the work of the center until the final resolution of the dispute in court. Representatives of the organization told journalists that they intend to appeal the decision of the Russian court in the European Court for Human Rights. According to Verkhovsky, by law they must first appeal in the presidium of the Russian Supreme Court.
"If they lose in the presidium of the Supreme Court, then they will go to the European Court for Human Rights, and there they are practically sure to win, because the grounds for the ban are simply feeble. . . . The reason there is exactly one: the organization must be banned for the reason that, before this, several of their regional (organizations) and a whole range of materials were banned. But they nevertheless continued to distribute the same ideas—even if in different materials—despite the ban," Verkhovsky suggests.
The expert thinks that the prohibitions by the Russian Supreme Court were issued on one and the same basis: Jehovah's Witnesses, in their doctrine, in their preaching, in their texts, "assert that their faith is the best of all, it is correct, and the others are incorrect."
"In terms of our legislation, this assertion is religious superiority. This kind of accusation can in no way be sustained in the European Court for Human Rights," the expert suggests. (tr. by PDS, posted 23 April 2017)
Editorial disclaimer: RRN does
not intend to certify the accuracy of information
presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the
accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the
articles as they appeared in news media of countries of
the former USSR.
If material is quoted, please give credit to the publication from which it came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted electronically, please include reference to the URL, http://www.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/.