Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Russia: Supreme Court upholds liquidation of all Jehovah's Witness organisations as "extremist"


Jehovah's Witnesses have also been fired from their jobs or forced to resign, and have been refused the right to perform alternative civilian service instead of compulsory military service for young men

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Forum 18
By Victoria Arnold | July 18, 2017

Russia's Supreme Court has upheld liquidation of all Jehovah's Witness organisations as "extremist". If they exercise freedom of religion and belief, all Jehovah's Witnesses can now be criminally prosecuted. A Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector has also been ordered to work with nuclear weapons.

On 17 July, Russia's Supreme Court upheld its earlier decision to liquidate as "extremist" the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre and 395 local Jehovah's Witness organisations, as well as to ban all their activities and seize all their property. The ruling has now entered legal force, putting all Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia at risk of criminal prosecution if they exercise their internationally recognised right to freedom of religion and belief.

Jehovah's Witnesses had already suffered the effects of the Justice Ministry's lawsuit, even before it fully came into force, with a sharp increase in incidents of vandalism of Kingdom Halls, the prosecution of religious leaders for holding meetings, and children encountering pressure and discrimination at school.

Jehovah's Witnesses have also been fired from their jobs or forced to resign, and have been refused the right to perform alternative civilian service instead of compulsory military service for young men.

These problems occurred after both the Justice Ministry's 15 March order suspending particular Jehovah's Witness activities, and the 20 April liquidation ruling itself.

Both the Administrative Centre and local religious organisations were already listed as "liquidated" in Federal Tax Service records before the appeal hearing, Forum 18 notes, with the dates of termination of activities (prekrashcheniye deyatelnosti) ranging from 27 April to 12 May.


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