MOSKALENKO VERSUS RUSSIA: NEW APPEAL IN E.C.H.R. IN CASE OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 1 January 2019
On 18 December 2018, a new appeal, "Moskalenko v. Russia," was submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (E.C.H.R.), with the request to consider it on a priority basis, in accordance with the policy of the Strasbourg court.
On 2 August 2018, personnel of the F.S.B. and OMON burst into at least five homes of peaceful residents of Khabarovsk. The police seized religious literature, cell phones, and other personal items of citizens. Among others, Valery Vasilievich Moskalenko was interrogated and placed in custody. He is accused of participating in worship services and "singing songs reflecting the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses." If he were to be found guilty, he faces up to six years in prison.
The appeal calls attention to direct violation by the Russian Federation of several articles of the European convention, including articles 9, 3, 8, 17 and/or 18 (considered independently or along with other articles). Thus, article 18 of the convention prohibits imposing restrictions for other purposes than those for which they were provided. In connection with this, the appeal emphasizes: "The stated goal of combating extremism serves the state as a cover for an illegal goal: the elimination of the religious confession of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia."
To date, more than 40 appeals from Jehovah's Witnesses have been filed against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights. Among them are "Local religious organization Taganrog and others v. Russia" and 21 other appeals (communicated [i.e. request sent to Russia for comment—tr.] on 6 March 2014); "Local religious organization of Samara and others v. Russia" and 6 other appeals (communicated on 4 September 2017); "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and Kalin v. Russian Federation" (communicated on 1 December 2017); "Christensen v. Russia" (communicated on 4 September 2017; "Markin and Trofimov v. Russia;" "Britvin and Levchuk v. Russia" (filed 1 November 2018); and "Bazhenov and others v. Russia" (filed 30 November 2018). (tr. by PDS, posted 2 January 2019)
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