Rus­sian court up­holds ban on Je­ho­vah’s wit­nesses

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

MOSCOW — Rus­sia’s Supreme Court has re­jected an ap­peal of its na­tion­wide ban on the Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses re­li­gious de­nom­i­na­tion. The court’s ap­peals cham­ber has up­held the April ap­proval of the Rus­sian Justice Min­istry’s call to halt Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses ac­tiv­i­ties and to de­clare it an ex­trem­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The re­jec­tion of the re­li­gious group’s ap­peal al­lows Rus­sia to liq­ui­date the 395 Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses con­gre­ga­tions and seize their prop­erty. The group claims about 170,000 ad­her­ents in Rus­sia. Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses spokesman David Se­mo­nian said in a state­ment that “it’s very con­cern­ing that de­spite over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence to the con­trary, pow­er­ful el­e­ments within Rus­sia con­tinue to frame our or­ga­ni­za­tion as ex­trem­ist.” Vik­tor Zhenkov, a Rus­sian at­tor­ney for the group, said Mon­day’s rul­ing would be ap­pealed to the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­fax news agency.

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