Supreme Court bans Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses

The Washington Post - - THE WORLD -

Rus­sia’s Supreme Court on Thurs­day banned the Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses from op­er­at­ing any­where in the coun­try, ac­cept­ing a re­quest from the Jus­tice Min­istry that the re­li­gious de­nom­i­na­tion be con­sid­ered an ex­trem­ist group.

The court or­dered the clo­sure of the Chris­tian group’s Rus­sia head­quar­ters and its 395 lo­cal chap­ters and the seizure of its prop­erty. The Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses claim more than 170,000 ad­her­ents in Rus­sia.

The In­ter­fax news agency on Thurs­day quoted Jus­tice Min­istry at­tor­ney Svet­lana Borisova in court as say­ing that Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses “pose a threat to the rights of the cit­i­zens, pub­lic or­der and pub­lic se­cu­rity.” Borisova also said the de­nom­i­na­tion’s op­po­si­tion to blood trans­fu­sions vi­o­lates Rus­sian health-care laws.

Yaroslav Sivul­sky, a spokesman for Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses in Rus­sia, said in a state­ment that the faith group is “greatly dis­ap­pointed by this devel­op­ment and deeply con­cerned about how this will af­fect our re­li­gious ac­tiv­ity.”

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