Russia Violates Its Laws To Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses

EVGENIY ISAEV is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The seizure of the administrative building is the latest in a series of confiscations of the religion’s properties.

Based on official documentation dated March 1, 2019, the Russian federation has officially seized the Jehovah’s Witness administrative center campus worth $30.4 million US dollars. The property has been transferred to the Federal State-funded institution Almazov National Medical Research of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation. According to a representative from JW, “the Russian government has schemed to effectively steal this property from our U.S. corp, claiming the U.S. corp’s ownership was invalid and that the property was really owned by JWs in Russia.”

According to Newsweek, this occurred “after the city’s court upheld a lower court’s decision that the property should be seized by the government.” The ruling that allows seizure of property came a year after the Russian Government labeled the JW as “an extremist organization” while launching “an ongoing crackdown against its members.”

The JW organization stated in 2018 “The original ruling by the Sestroretskiy District Court in December 2017 ignored evidence that the Witnesses’ office is owned by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (WTPA), a nonprofit corporation based in the United States.”

According to the JW representative, the total value of JW properties that either have been confiscated or subject to confiscation is approximately $75,361,314.

The JW organization is seeking not only the recovery of these amounts, but also “non-pecuniary damages for the loss of property, the violation of our rights, as well as lawyer’s fees.”

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