Jehovah's Witnesses try to shield property against confiscation


Stolitsa na Onego, 6 February 2018


In the Petrozavodsk city court consideration has begun of a civil lawsuit by the prosecutor's office against a Finnish religious organization, Jehovan Todistaja (Jehovah's Witnesses*).


The plaintiff's declaration was sent to the court over the signature of a deputy prosecutor of Karelia, Eduard Gusakov.


We recall that the Petrozavodsk organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is located at the address 52 Pervomaisk Prospect. In 2016 it was fined 50,000 rubles for distributing extremist materials. In April 2017, by a decision of the Russian Supreme Court, the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" and its member local religious organizations were liquidated and their activity was prohibited. The court's decision took effect in July 2017.


By law, its property is subject to transfer to state ownership.


The Petrozavodsk organization owned premises of 459.9 square meters at the 52 Pervomaisk address.  The right to it extended to 29 March 2017 because on 14 March the Petrozavodsk Jehovah's Witnesses donated the space to the Finnish organization Jehovan Todistaja. It is located in the Finnish city of Vantaa.


The prosecutor's office thinks that the organizations concluded the agreement in order to retain the property in the ownership of the world religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses with the aim of possible continuation of illegal activity.


The prosecutor's office asks that the donation agreement be found invalid and that the right of federal ownership of the nonresidential property at 52 Pervomaisk Prospect be recognized.


Representatives of the Finnish organization of Jehovah's Witnesses (Jehovan Todistaja) are asking the court to refuse to satisfy the lawsuit.


*The activity of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization is forbidden in Russia. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 February 2018)

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