U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT URGES RUSSIA TO CEASE CHARGING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES WITH EXTREMISM
Interfax-Religiia, 23 September 2019
The United States is concerned about the sentence of a Saratov court for six members of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, which is forbidden in Russia, the head of the press service of the foreign policy department of the U.S.A., Morgan Ortegus, reported.
"We are profoundly concerned by the decision of a Russian court to imprison six Jehovah's Witnesses for peaceful religious practice," Ortegus wrote on Twitter.
"We urge Russia to respect the rights of its citizens to freedom of religious confession and to cease falsely accusing Jehovah's Witnesses of extremism," she added.
On Friday the Lenin district court of Saratov issued a sentence for six members of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization.
"The court characterized the actions of all six representatives of the organization on the basis of part 2 of article 282.1 of the Criminal Code of the RF (organization of an extremist association) and assigned to two of them a punishment in the form of three and a half years incarceration, to one, three years, and to another three, two years incarceration," Interfax was told at the press service of the court.
Meanwhile, a member of the Council on Human Rights under the president of the RF, Andrei Babushkin, advocated the introduction of changes into legislation in order to eliminate the possibility of prosecuting people for their religious confession.
In 2017, the Russian Supreme Court ruled to grant the lawsuit of the Ministry of Justice and to find the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" to be an extremist organization and to liquidate it and prohibit its activity on the territory of the RF. (tr. by PDS, posted 23 September 2019)
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