In a ruling Thursday, Russia has banned Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Following weeks of hearings, Russia’s Supreme Court has backed the Ministry of Justice’s move to liquidate the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Administrative Center and its nearly 400 religious organizations throughout the country and will seize its property, beginning immediately.
Some of the group’s publications are listed as “extremist literature.” Svetlana Borisova, a Ministry of Justice attorney, was quoted today saying Jehovah’s Witnesses “pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security.”
The following is a statement released today by the Office of Public Information of the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Russia’s Supreme Court Rules Against Jehovah’s Witnesses
NEW YORK—After six days of hearings over the last two weeks, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation today upheld the claim submitted by the Ministry of Justice to liquidate the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and 395 Local Religious Organizations (LROs) used by Witnesses throughout Russia. The ruling goes into effect immediately.
“We are greatly disappointed by this development and deeply concerned about how this will affect our religious activity,” states Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. “We will appeal this decision, and we hope that our legal rights and protections as a peaceful religious group will be fully restored as soon as possible.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia have 30 days to submit their appeal for consideration by a three-person panel.
People have taken to Twitter to express their concern.
— Kyle Roberts (@Schumayashi) April 20, 2017
To anyone cheering on Russia for banning Jehovah's Witnesses, do not for one second think your rights, religious beliefs or creeds are safe.
— J E N N | T A 🍋 (@Jenn_Fuego) April 20, 2017
Jehovah's Witnesses can be irritating but they do it because they actually care about you. Russia wants nothing to do with that apparently
— Paul Portier (@portier_paul) April 20, 2017