Kazakhstan explains temporary suspension of Jehovah's Witnesses


RIA Novosti, 19 July 2017


Kazakhstan does not plan to forbid the activity of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, Nurlan Ermekbaev, the minister for affairs of religions and civil society of the republic, reported.


In Russia the Supreme Court on 17 July ruled legal the liquidation of the organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" because of the recognition of its activity as extremist. Earlier, on 20 April, Russian Supreme Court Judge Yury Ivanenko ordered to find the chief organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the RF extremist and to liquidate it. The court also ordered to turn the organization's property into state income. Thereby the court granted the administrative lawsuit of the Ministry of Justice.


"According to our legislation, all religious associations registered in Kazakhstan have equal rights and are equal before the law. The religious association of Jehovah's Witnesses is officially registered in Kazakhstan, and therefore it operates in accordance with legislation. Our position includes the fact that this organization is not extremist and as of the present there are no plans for its complete closure or any other pressure on it," Ermekbaev said at a press conference.


He noted that by a decision of a court in Alma-Ata, the activity of the regional organization of Jehovah's Witnesses was suspended for three months. "This is a rather mild form (it was done), because, as far as we know, the rules of antiterrorist security were not observed in the liturgical institutions," the minister said, noting that items noted were not removed by the deadline, which led to the court's decision.


"If these items are removed, then the regional organization will be able to continue its activity. In other parts of our country, this organization is continuing work undisturbed," Ermekbaev declared. (tr. by PDS, posted 19 July 2017)

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