KREMLIN WILL EXAMINE EACH SPECIFIC INSTANCE OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF REPRESENTATIVES OF RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES
Interfax-Religiia, 18 December 2018
Each specific instance of bringing representatives of religious communities to accountability for extremism and terrorism will be examined, but we are not talking about a conceptual change in legislation, the Russian president's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, declared.
"Here it is necessary to examine each specific case. The topic was brought up and consequently specific incidents will be reviewed. Here it is impossible to resolve this issue conceptually because there exist diverse cases, diverse phenomena, which speak both 'for' and 'against," D. Peskov told journalists.
This is the way he responded to a question whether it is planned to introduce changes into legislation in connection with the fact that representatives of religious organizations, including Jehovah's Witnesses (an organization banned in the RF—IF), are being brought to criminal accountability for terrorism and extremism.
This topic was raised at a session of the presidential Council on Human Rights on 11 December.
"We must treat representatives of all religions identically, this is the truth, but we also must still take into consideration the country and society in which we live. It is true this does not at all mean that we should categorize representatives of religious communities as somehow destructive, much less terrorist organizations," Vladimir Putin said during the closed-door portion of the session of the presidential Council on Human Rights, which was held on 11 December.
This is the way he reacted to the words of a member of the Council on Human Rights, Ekaterina Shulman, to the effect that in the list of organizations regarding which there is information about their adherence to extremism and terrorism, the overwhelming majority belong to the Jehovah's Witnesses.
"Of course, this is complete nonsense and it is necessary to deal attentively with this; here I agree with you," the head of state said in connection with this. We certainly can, and we even must at such a time be much more liberal toward representatives of various religious sects, but we must not forget that our society does not consist exclusively of religious sects." the president noted in his response.
D. Peskov noted that "this topic will be considered further." (tr. by PDS, posted 18 December 2018)
AUTHORITIES ARE OBLIGED TO CARRY OUT COURT DECISION BANNING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES—JUSTICE MINISTRY
Interfax-Religiia, 18 December 2018
Judicial decisions banning individual organizations in the RF are obligatory for execution by agencies of government, the press service of the Ministry of Justice declared in connection with the situation surrounding the Jehovah's Witnesses (banned in the RF).
"In accordance with article 16 of the Code of Administrative Jurisprudence of the RF, judicial acts with respect to administrative cases that have taken legal effect are obligatory for agencies of governmental authority, other state agencies, agencies of local administration, election commissions, referendum commissions, and organizations, associations, officials, state and municipal officials, and citizens, and they are subject to execution on the whole territory of the RF," a report of the press service of the Ministry of Justice, issued in response to an inquiry by Interfax, says.
The inclusion of information in a list of public associations and religious organizations and other noncommercial organizations with regard to which a court has made a decision for their liquidation or prohibition of activity is carried out by the Ministry of Justice.
"By a decision of the Russian Supreme Court of 20 April 2017, the religious organization 'Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia' and 395 local religious organizations that are members of its structure were liquidated and their activity is forbidden on the bases provided by the federal law 'On combating extremist activity,'" the report says.
"The aforesaid decision by the Russian Supreme Court entered into legal force on 17 July 2017," the ministry added.
Yesterday a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a recent meeting of rights advocates became known, to the effect that representatives of religious communities should not be equated with members of terrorist and destructive organizations.
"We must deal with representatives of all religions identically—that is true, but it is still necessary to also take into consideration the country and society in which we live. It is true that this definitely does not mean that we should characterize representatives of religious communities as destructive, let alone as terrorist organizations," V. Putin said on 11 December in the closed door portion of the session of the presidential Council on Huamn Rights, a transcript of which was published on the Kremlin website on 17 December.
"Of course this is complete nonsense and it is necessary to deal with this attentively; here I agree with you," V. Putin added in response to the words of council member Ekaterina Shulman to the effect that in the list of organizations with regard to which there is information about affiliation with extremism and terrorism, the overwhelming majority are members of Jehovah's Witnesses.
"There may be many charges against Jehovah's Witnesses—they do not transfuse blood, they do not take their children to the hospital—but they certainly do not call for violence nor practice it," E. Shulman added.
"We certainly can, and we even must at such a time be much more liberal toward representatives of various religious sects, but we must not forget that our society does not consist exclusively of religious sects, the president noted in response. (tr. by PDS, posted 20 December 2018)
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