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Is writing letters to the Russian authorities - lobbying or preaching?

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3) We do not lobby, vote in political elections, run for government office, or try to change governments. …Otherwise, how could we have a clean conscience when we preach the good news that only God’s Kingdom can solve mankind’s problems? source: 

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lobby verb [ I or T ]  UK  /ˈlɒb.i/ US  /ˈlɑː.bi/

C2 to try to persuade a politician, the government, or an official group that a particular thing should or should not happen, or that a law should be changed:

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Recent example how WT Company and JW members participated in "lobbying" was writing letters to Russian Government and their politicians. 

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      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  (son of former GB member Albert Schroeder was trained as an attorney by the WT Society) (I think he has left bethel to go live down in Florida)

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      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  RD., WALLKILL, NY 12589
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      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Hernando, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Clearfield, PA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses Brklyn") Brooklyn, NY Branch
      Watchtower Society (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Cleveland, OH
      Watchtower And Bible Society (Inc) (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses W S Spanish") Ocala, FL
      Watchtower Bb Tract Soc Of Ny Jasper, GA Branch
      Watchtower Bb Tract Soc Of Ny (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Libby, MT Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Baker, MT
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witness Lake Mangoni") West Palm Beach, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Saint Paul, MN Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses(Inc)") Ashland, WI Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Charlotte, MI Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc West Palm Beach, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") El Toro, CA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Bishop, CA
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Soquel, CA Branch
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      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Toms River, NJ Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Pottstown, PA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Yakima, WA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Bemidji, MN Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Clarkesville, GA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") West Des Moines, IA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses-Mont") Montgomery, TX Branch
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      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Wtness S Congregation") Live Oak, FL Branch
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      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Maquoketa, IA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jehovahs Witness") KYLE, TX Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Watch Tower Bible Track Soc Ny," "Kingdom Hall") NAPA, CA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Wtnesses Kingdom Hall") Alhambra, CA Branch
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      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Saint Edward, NE Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Wahoo, NE Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Spring Hill, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Schoharie, NY Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovah S Witness Kingdom Hall") North Wilkesboro, NC Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Northwest Cong Jehovahs," "Jehovah's Witnesses") Nashville, TN Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdomhall Jehovahs Witnesses") Scottsville, VA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Ny Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Klamath Falls, OR
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania (dba "Jeovahs Witnesses Kingdom Hall") Buford, GA Branch
      Watchtower Bible Tract Society (dba "Kingdom Hall," "Jehovah's Witnesses") Hart, MI Single
      Watchtower Corp (dba "Jehovahs Wtnesses Kingdom Hall") Macon, GA


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        Corporations outside the United States
      THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF JEHOVAH’S CHRISTIAN WITNESSES 
       
      International Bible Students Association

      International Bible Students Association is a corporate not-for-profit organization used by Jehovah's Witnesses in the United Kingdom. Some Jehovah's Witnesses publications cite this corporation as publisher or co-publisher.[citation needed]
      It was founded in 1914 as a corporation of the Bible Students by Charles Taze Russell in London, England, and was the first legal corporation representing Russell's ministry in Europe. Along with their Pennsylvania and New York based corporations, Watch Tower publications since 1914 have stated: "All three of these corporations were organized for identical purposes and they harmoniously work together."[20]
      Later corporations, such as in Canada, were similarly named. The name continues to be used for corporate entities (for example, in East Africa), but in 1931 the religion formally changed its name worldwide from International Bible Students Association to Jehovah’s witnesses.

      Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Britain
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      Other corporations
      Since the formation of the International Bible Students Association, many other legal entities sanctioned by the Governing Body have been used throughout the world to further the interests of Jehovah's Witnesses.[21]Typically these are synonymous with the branch offices in various countries. These include:
      Testigos de Jehová de Venezuela, La Victoria, Venezuela Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses of East Africa Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  - (Colombia) Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  - (Spain) Congregación Cristiana de los Testigos de Jehová - (México) Wachtturm Bibel- und Traktat-Gesellschaft der Zeugen Jehovas, e. V., Selters/Taunus (Germany, Austria) Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Australia, Inc. (Australia) Address: 12-14 ZOUCH RD, DENHAM COURT, NSW 2565 Macarthur-camden, Sydney Metro Tel:  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Jah-Jireh Charity Homes - suspected connection Jah-Jireh Homes of America Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Watch Tower Bible And Tract Society Of The Philippines Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  (Can someone write this in Russian here? Thank you.) Address: 186 rosevelt ave., sfdm, quezon city 1100, Tel: 24116090 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
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      Corporations used for International Conventions
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      Defunct Corporations
      Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Lünen-Magdeburg of the new-apostolic sect - Prussia - Dissolved 1933
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      Watch Tower Society of Cuba
       
      Associations / Splinter Groups
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      References
      ^ Such as in their book Worldwide Security Under the “Prince of Peace” ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ), ©1986 Watch Tower, pages 26-27, "That momentous date [that is, 1914] had been pointed forward to since 1876 by those who became associated with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. ... In all the warring nations [during World War I], the dedicated Christians who were associated with the Watch Tower Society came under tremendous pressure to abandon their resolve to keep free from bloodguilt." ^ a b "How the Governing Body Differs From a Legal Corporation". The Watchtower: 29. 15 January 2001. ^ Isaiah’s Prophecy—Light for All Mankind, volume 2, ©2001 Watch Tower, page 317 ^  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Corporations.state.pa.us. Retrieved 2012-12-31. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses: Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (Watchtower, 1993), p. 576. ^ J. Rutherford,  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  1915, p. 14. ^ "Printing and Distributing God’s Own Sacred Word", Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, page 603 ^ "The Warning Work (1909-1914)", The Watchtower, March 1, 1955, page 141 ^ "Early Legal Corporations", Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, page 229 ^  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Watchtowernews.org. 2001-09-17. Retrieved 2012-12-31. ^ Letter from Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., to All Bodies of Elders in the United States, dated February 27, 2001. ^ Our Kingdom Ministry, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 2002 January p7 ^  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ^  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Sunbiz.org. Retrieved 2012-12-31. ^ Our Kingdom Ministry, September 2005, page 1 ^ The Watchtower, January 15, 2001, page 14-15 ^ The Watchtower, July 15, 2006, page 20 ^ Awake!, June 2006, page 19 ^ The Watchtower, April 1, 2007, page 25 ^ See “The History and Operations of Our Society,” Watch Tower, 1917, pp. 327-330, as referred by The Watchtower, March 1, 1955, page 141 ^ Brochure insert, Our Kingdom Ministry, January 2002, page 7. ^ The Watchtower, August 1, 2004, page 6 ^ Awake!, January 22, 2005, page 21 ^ Awake!, June 8, 2002, page 11
      See also:
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    • By Srecko Sostar
      The Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks) CV-96-4849 is a fund to compensate people suffering from the Holocaust. As stated at swissbankclaims.com/index.asp (3 Mar 2006);
    • By Srecko Sostar
      Early in 1933, the Watchtower office in Berlin was closed and Jehovah's Witnesses were banned in many German states. This was due to the refusal of Jehovah's Witnesses to swear loyalty to the government or to serve in its armed forces.
      In an attempt to appease Hitler into lifting the ban, Rutherford instigated a Declaration of Fact sand sent a Letter to Hitler discussing the Watchtower's support of the Nazi regime.
      "Therefore, on June 25, 1933, a declaration regarding their ministry and its objectives was adopted by Jehovah's Witnesses at an assembly in Berlin. Copies were sent to all the high government officials, and millions more were distributed to the public. Nevertheless, in July 1933 the courts refused to grant a hearing for relief. Early the following year, a personal letter regarding the situation was written by J. F. Rutherford to Adolf Hitler and delivered to him by special messenger. Then the entire worldwide brotherhood went into action. 
      On Sunday morning, October 7, 1934, at nine o'clock, every group of Witnesses in Germany assembled. They prayed for Jehovah's guidance and blessing. Then each group sent a letter to German government officials declaring their firm determination to keep on serving Jehovah." - Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimer's Of God's Kingdom p.693
       
      "Dear Reichskanzler, 
      … 
      The Brooklyn headquarter of the Watchtower Society is pro German in an exemplary way and has been so for many years. For that reason, in 1918, the president of the Society and seven members of the board of directors were sentenced to 80 years in prison, because the president refused to use two of the magazines published in America under his direction for war propaganda against Germany. These two magazines, "The Watchtower" and "Bible Student" were the only magazines in America which refused to engage in anti-German propaganda and for that reason were prohibited and suppressed in America during the war. 

      In the very same manner, in course of the recent months the board of directors of our Society not only refused to engage in propaganda against Germany, but has even taken a position against it. The enclosed declaration underlines this fact and emphasizes that the people leading in such propaganda (Jewish businessmen and Catholics) also are the most rigorous persecutors of the work of our Society and its board of directors. This and other statements of the declaration are meant to repudiate the slanderous accusation, that Bible Researchers are supported by the Jews. 

      The conference of five thousand delegates also noted - as is expressed in the declaration - that the Bible Researchers of Germany are fighting for the very same high ethical goals and ideals which also the national government of the German Reich proclaimed respecting the relationship of humans to God, namely: honesty of the created being towards its creator. 

      The conference came to the conclusion that there are no contradictions when it comes to the relationship between the Bible Researchers of Germany to the national government of the German Reich. To the contrary, referring to the purely religious and unpolitical goals and efforts of the Bible Researchers, it can be said that these are in full agreement with the identical goals of the national government of the German Reich. 

      ... 

      We are looking forward to your kind approval, which we hope to receive soon, and want to assure our highest respect to you, honorable Mr. Reichskanzler. 

      Yours faithfully, 
      Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Magdeburg"
      FULL TEXT in German:

      source: 
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    • By JW Insider
      I am writing this on Sunday 12/9 at about 3:30 PM.
      On Thursday night I drove up here to Warwick with relatives. We completed the five exhibits at Warwick, spoke with some Bethelites we knew, and attended the Sunday morning meeting held in the Bethel Auditorium where the "Long Meadow" congregation meets. This is a congregation of about 180 persons, some of whom travel from up to about half-an-hour away, and many (if not most) of the members are Bethelites who live in the HQ complex on site.
      Tomorrow we'll go to Wallkill.
      The first thing you notice from setting your smartphone maps and GPS routing systems is that the Warwick Bethel is not in Warwick. It's actually all within the borders and limits of Tuxedo Park, NY. If you look at the back of the Warwick Bethel brochure you'll see that 1 Kings Drive, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987 is the actual address. 
      The name was picked, I assume, because Warwick is a town just a little farther away, in another zip code (10990), and smaller than Tuxedo Park, but with a name that sounds just a bit more Biblical. It's a name that also sounds a bit more alliterative: as in, "Watchtower at Wallkill" and "Watchtower at Warwick." Wars, Wicks, Walls, and Kills are all found in the Bible, but no Tuxedos of any stripe.
      The exhibits were very good. I'll find my previous post that discusses them and try to get it to land below this one.
    • By JOHN BUTLER
      I thought today's study article was good. Quite basic and practical. 
      However the first sentence of paragraph 2 made me laugh. If it were true there would not be half the problems within the Org, the child abuse being a good example.
      Paragraph 7 first sentence also is almost funny, but not so because it contains God's name which should not be mocked. 
      Paragraph 14 The last sentence says.. "... requires that we exercise empathy, putting ourselves in their situation to the extent possible."  How many brothers or sisters actually do this ? How many have done this regarding Child Abuse victims ? 
      I like the bit in paragraph 18 " there will be no more sickness, wars, inherited death, .....  Because of course there will still be death after Armageddon but it will be because people do not want to serve God properly. 
      Paragraph 17 talks about, not telling people, they are not doing enough. However in truth this is not put into practice. People, including my wife, are being 'pushed' into doing more for the Org. 
      All in all it made for a good read though. But it seems to be telling the congregants to do what people in the world do normally. Keep Displaying Love,
      Compare  Matthew 5 v 43 through 48
       “You heard that it was said: ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44  However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, 45  so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good and makes it rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  46  For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Are not also the tax collectors doing the same thing? 47  And if you greet your brothers only, what extraordinary thing are you doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing? 48  You must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. 
      Is this not showing that people in the world show love to one another. So it is obvious that JW's should do the same. 
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      via .ORG
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    • By Srecko Sostar
      Confusing and controversial ideas and perceptions we can find about God, life and death, feelings, acts/deeds of human and gods.
       
      HOW GOD FEELS ABOUT LIFE
      3. What did Jehovah do when Cain killed Abel?
      3 The Bible teaches us that our life and the lives of other people are precious to Jehovah. For example, when Cain—Adam and Eve’s son—was very angry with his younger brother Abel, Jehovah warned Cain that he needed to control his anger. But Cain didn’t listen, and he became so angry that he “assaulted his brother Abel and killed him.” (Genesis 4:3-8) Jehovah punished Cain for murdering Abel. (Genesis 4:9-11) So anger and hatred are dangerous because they can make us become violent or cruel. A person who is like that cannot have everlasting life. (Read1 John 3:15.) To please Jehovah, we must learn to love all people.—1 John 3:11, 12. - 
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      On other side we can find this in Bible, directly as words inspired to be written by Almighty God.  
       
       
        7   Remember, O Jehovah,What the Eʹdom·ites said on the day Jerusalem fell:“Tear it down! Tear it down to its foundations!” Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  O daughter of Babylon, who is soon to be devastated, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Happy will be the one who rewards you With the treatment you inflicted on us. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Happy will be the one who seizes your children And dashes them against the rocks. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  -   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Outta Here
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. This takes the proverbial biscuit. These are guys that plant Jehovah's Witness publications on................Jehovah's Witnesses!!!
      They might be in for a decoration!
    • By Srecko Sostar
      Just one of many changes WT made in recent years. 
      19 In review, what have we learned? In the beginning of this article, we raised three “when” questions. We first considered that the great tribulation did not begin in 1914 but will start when the United Nations attacks Babylon the Great. Then, we reviewed why Jesus’ judgment of the sheep and the goats did not begin in 1914 but will occur during the great tribulation. Finally, we examined why Jesus’ arrival to appoint the faithful slave over all his belongings did not occur in 1919 but will take place during the great tribulation. So, then, all three “whens” apply to the same future time period—the great tribulation. How does this adjusted view further affect our understanding of the illustration of the faithful slave? Also, how does it affect our understanding of other parables, or illustrations, of Jesus that are being fulfilled during this time of the end? These important questions will be considered in the following articles.
      source of paragraph:  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
       
      Here in this paragraph we see just some of many changes from past teachings in Watchtower ideology.
      Well, questions are as follow:
      What is The Truth?
      Can The Truth Stop To Be True?
      Does The Truth have the Owner?
      Why do some people like to claim that Only They know a Certain Truth?
      Does some Truth exists outside of our awareness of the existence of such truth?
      Why do we argue how some Truth or Truths can never change?
      Why can not we name The Truth, which has ceased to be true, that it is a Lie or at least Not The Truth?
      Do these truths from paragraph 19 cease to be true on the day of publication in the Watchtower Journal on July 15 2013 or are they, in fact, have never been The Truth?
       
    • By Srecko Sostar
      Personally, I believe that what Serena stands for in her social projects is truly worthwhile. One of the video I've put out shows that she is socially active in many areas of American community life.
      She stands for high school education and university higher education. Includes self in health programs. In charitable actions. She is UNICEF ambassador. Have Philanthropic projects. Helping on Community violence. She is Partnership with Equal Justice Initiative. One have said: "She's talking when others are being quite." She started Annual charity run. She is Ambassador for the Allstate Foundation, a purple plus project for domestic abuse victims.
      Basically, first please take look at the links for Serena, and then read the controversial WT articles that actually say how Serena is "meddling in the things of this world". 2. Tim 2: 4 - 4 "No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civil affairs but tries to please his commanding officer."
      Not want talking about her motives, because we must look first at person in positive way without prejudice. So, Serena is fine role model in helping people, all people, not only to people of "her flock". :))
      It is to long with copy/paste WT articles, but some people wants to see black on white.
      1) „What is the theme of the message of Jehovah’s Witnesses? When Jesus gave his preaching commission, he did not instruct his followers to preach social or political reforms, union of Church and State, or any other secular ideology. Instead, he foretold: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14) Thus, in obedience to Jesus’ instructions, true Christians today continue to speak to their neighbors about God’s Kingdom—the only government capable of bringing an end to Satan’s wicked system and ushering in a righteous new world.“  - source:
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. TRUE Christians today do not participate in politics. Why not? Because they follow Jesus’ example. He said about himself: “I am no part of the world.” Regarding his followers, he stated: “You are no part of the world.” ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) Consider some reasons why Christians should not become involved in politics.
      2) 1. Human ability is limited. The Bible states that humans have neither the ability nor the right to govern themselves. “It does not belong to man who is walking,” wrote the prophet Jeremiah, “even to direct his step.”— Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
      Just as humans were not created to fly successfully on their own strength, so they were not created to rule successfully by themselves. Speaking about the limits of government, historian David Fromkin noted: “Governments are composed of human beings; therefore they are fallible and their prospects are uncertain. They exercise a certain power, but only a limited one.” (The Question of Government) No wonder the Bible warns us not to put our trust in man!— Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . source: 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. 3) We do not lobby, vote in political elections, run for government office, or try to change governments. …Otherwise, how could we have a clean conscience when we preach the good news that only God’s Kingdom can solve mankind’s problems?  source: 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. 4) Reformers are found in almost every society, where they encourage change in an orderly, constitutional manner. Generally, they are not anarchists or revolutionaries, since most reformers stay within the law and refrain from violence. A few reformers occupy influential positions in society and take the initiative in introducing change. Others lobby and prod those in power into taking some action.
      Reformers try to get society to rethink its approach on issues. They do not just protest; they have ideas about how to improve things. To draw attention to their concerns, reformers may petition the public, demonstrate in the streets, or seek publicity in the media. Among the worst things that can happen to a reformer is for society to ignore him…..There can be no doubt that Jesus had the ability to bring about reform. As a perfect man, he could have blazed a trail with sweeping changes and innovations. Yet, Christ did not initiate a campaign to rid the world of corrupt officials or dishonest businessmen. He did not lead street protests against injustice, although he himself was to become the innocent victim of an outrageous miscarriage of justice….What Christ had in mind was, not a simple reform, but a complete change in the way mankind’s affairs are governed. This change will be put into effect by the heavenly Kingdom introduced by the Creator of mankind, Jehovah God, and administered by Jesus Christ as King. source: 
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      5) Special appendix on domestic violence with brand new "instructions"
      17 Admittedly, there have been instances where an “unbelieving husband” seems to prove that he is not “agreeable to staying with her.” He might be extremely physically abusive, even to the point that she feels that her health or life is in danger. He might refuse to support her and the family or severely endanger her spirituality. In such cases, some Christians have personally decided that, despite what he might say, the mate is not “agreeable to staying” together and that a separation is necessary. But other Christians in comparably difficult situations have not; they have endured and tried to work at improving matters. Why?
      18 In such a separation, the two are still marriage mates. If they lived apart, each one would face challenges, as mentioned earlier. The apostle Paul gave another reason for staying united. He wrote: “The unbelieving husband is sanctified in relation to his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in relation to the brother; otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) Many loyal Christians have remained with an unbelieving mate under very trying circumstances. They can testify that doing so was worthwhile in a special sense when their mate became a true worshipper.—Read  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . source: 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. What would Serena say about this? Here are 2 links.
       
       
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      More than 200 Jehovah's Witnesses - a religious organization banned in Russia - have applied for asylum in Finland. More than 100 members of this organization have arrived in the European country only so far in 2018. According to Juha Simila, representative of the Finnish migration service, about 10 cases have been analyzed so far and, in most of them, Finland rejected the asylum application. Simila explained to the Finnish newspaper Aamulehti that some denials have been appealed to the court and that in one of the cases the negative decision of the migration service has already been confirmed.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Many of the children described conditions at US Customs and Border Protection facilities, where they were taken and processed during the first days after crossing the border. In the reports they were only identified by their first names. Timofei, 15, from Russia, who sought asylum on the border with his parents for his beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses, said they were crowded night and day in the closed and crowded room, detained along with other boys. He said there was only one window that opened onto an empty hallway and that they did not have soap in the bathroom, and that only sometimes, they gave him a toothbrush for individual use. He also said that he was offered a shower when he arrived at the facilities in San Ysidro, California, but he did not and the second or third day there did not allow him to do so.
      https://www.clarin.com/mundo/trataron-chicos-separados-padres-frontera-relatan-dias-detenidos-unidos_0_SJh7dyam7.html
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (Moscow) – Law enforcement authorities across Russia have carried out a sweeping campaign against JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in recent months, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have carried out dozens of home searches, raids, interrogations, and other acts of harassment and persecution.
      The authorities are holding 18 men in pretrial detention on charges of organizing, participating in, or financing the activities of an “extremist organization” solely for their religious activities. Several others are facing the same charges and are under house arrest or subject to travel restrictions. The charges carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Russian authorities should release those in detention immediately, drop the charges, and halt the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      “The Jehovah’s Witnesses are simply peacefully exercising their right to freedom of religion,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Jehovah’s Witness faith is not an extremist organization, and authorities should stop this religious persecution of its worshipers now.”
      Human Rights Watch interviewed four lawyers defending JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in five regions and a representative of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. Human Rights Watch also reviewed court documents, media reports, Russian government statements, and Federal Security Service (FSB) photos and videos purporting to show the raids.
      The raids and arrests stem from an April 2017 Russian Supreme Courtruling that banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout Russia. The ruling declared the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center, the head office for 395 Jehovah’s Witnesses branches throughout Russia, an extremist organization and ruled that all 395 be shut down. The ruling, which affects more than 100,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses across Russia, blatantly violates Russia’s obligations to respect and protect religious freedom and freedom of association.
      Russian authorities should reverse the ban on the organization’s activities and remove the “extremist” designation, Human Rights Watch said. Meanwhile, they should leave Jehovah’s Witnesses free to practice their faith.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and other former USSR countries have faced persecution in the past. During the Soviet era, they were arrested and imprisoned in labor camps, including in Siberia. Within the past decade, worshipers across Russia have faced persecution, intrusive home searches, and arrests, and have been denied rights to freedom of assembly, association, and religion.
      In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Russia for closing the Moscow branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and refusing to allow the group to re-register. The court found violations of articles 9 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect freedom of religion and association, respectively. In addition to awarding monetary damages, the court said that Russia should review the domestic decisions that led to the violations. Russia has refused to carry out the judgments in that case and several others brought by members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. On the contrary, Russia has continued to persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses, seeking the group’s complete dissolution in Russia.
      From April to June 2018, law enforcement raids targeted Jehovah’s Witness communities in at least 11 regions throughout Russia, from Saratov region in southwestern Russia to Primorsky Krai in Russia’s far east. Police carried out the raids, often accompanied by a combination of FSB officials wearing masks, armed personnel of the Interior Ministry Special Task Police Force or National Guard, and representatives from the Investigative Committee, Russia’s criminal investigation service.  
      The authorities, who obtained search warrants or entry permits in most cases, confiscated personal computers, mobile phones, bank cards, passports, religious literature, and, in some cases, housing deeds. Dozens of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, including at least one child, were taken to local investigative offices for questioning. Others were detained and later charged.
      A lawyer representing a Jehovah’s Witness who is in pretrial detention in Murmansk Region told Human Rights Watch that the authorities’ actions contradict religious freedom guarantees in the Russian Constitution. “The [Russian] constitution says that you can practice your faith together with others, but as it turns out, that’s a crime,” said Yegiazar Chernikov, of the Sverdlovsk Lawyers’ Association.
      In at least two regions, armed officers threatened the worshipers with firearms, in one case pointing a gun at a personÂ’s head, a lawyer familiar with the incident told Human Rights Watch.
      A JehovahÂ’s Witnesses representative told Human Rights Watch that approximately 160 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses have fled Russia to seek refuge abroad.
      On June 20, Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights announced that it had asked the prosecutor general’s office to verify the legality of criminal prosecutions against Jehovah’s Witnesses practicing their faith. A week earlier, several of the spouses of the men in pretrial detention had sent a letter to the chair of the council, Mikhail Fedotov, urging him to ask President Vladimir Putin to end the raids and arrests and to restore freedom of religion in Russia.
      Over 150 Russian activists, journalists, and academics – including several members of Memorial, Russia’s foremost human rights group – signed and published an open letter urging the authorities to immediately release those in detention and to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision to liquidate the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia – like all people in Russia – should be able to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of religion and association, Human Rights Watch said. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a party.
      Under international law, freedom of religion includes the freedom to practice one’s religion or belief both individually and in community with others, in public or in private, and through worship, practice, and teaching. Russia already has many rulings against it for its failure to respect the freedom of religion of faith communities and minority religious groups, such as the Church of Scientology, the Salvation Army, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses
      “Russia should do right by its national and international obligations to respect freedom of religion,” Denber said. “Russian leadership should make sure that law enforcement is honoring and protecting that right, not trampling on it.”
      Raids Aimed at Intimidation
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a peaceful religious community. The consistent show of force in raids in many locations in Russia was disproportionate and seemed aimed at sending a strong message of intimidation, Human Rights Watch said. 
      In most regions, the authorities arrested people they singled out as leaders and organizers of the local Jehovah’s Witnesses community for such actions as recruiting new members and distributing religious literature that the authorities label “extremist.”
      On May 16 in the Orenburg Region, in southwest Russia, law enforcement personnel searched 18 homes in four cities and charged nine people. Two are in pretrial custody and another is under house arrest.
      On May 17 in Birobidzhan, in southeast Russia, representatives of the Jehovah’s Witnesses reported that about 150 law enforcement personnel raided the homes of at least nine Jehovah’s Witnesses, confiscating photos, bank cards, money, and computers. An official reportedly saidthat the operation was code-named “Judgment Day.” One person was arrested and charged with organizing activities of an “extremist organization” but was released from pretrial detention eight days later.
      On April 18 in the town of Polyarny in the Murmansk Region, in northwest Russia, armed law enforcement agents raided at least seven homes and arrested two men. They took several others into custody for questioning and later released them. Police also took a 16-year-old girl into custody and questioned her at the local investigative unit for several hours. A video posted on the Murmansk Investigative Committee’s website shows men wearing camouflage uniforms and helmets forcing open a door to an apartment.
      The arrest and raid campaign took place as the trial of a Jehovah’s Witness who is a Danish citizen, Dennis Christensen, continues in Orel, a city in western Russia. Christensen, who was arrested in May 2017, is being tried on charges of organizing activities of an “extremist organization” and faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence if convicted. He has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rightsalleging, among other things, that his arrest constituted unlawful interference with his right to freedom of religion.
      Another Jehovah’s Witness in Orel, 55-year-old Sergei Skrynnikov, was charged on May 8, 2018, with participating in the activities of an “extremist organization.”
      A lawyer who is defending three Jehovah’s Witnesses in two regions said that throughout the past eight months, FSB agents in the Orenburg Region and the Republic of Bashkortostan conducted wiretapping, videotaping, and other surveillance of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ activities – for which they said they had warrants – as part of the investigation. In some cases, the lawyer said, authorities placed recording devices in Jehovah’s Witnesses’ homes.
      Earlier in 2018, police raided more than two dozen JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ homes in Belgorod and Kemerovo. Two JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Belgorod are facing extremism charges.
      Saratov and Shirokoe, Saratov Region
      On June 12, authorities in Saratov Region, southwestern Russia, raided at least seven homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city of Saratov and village of Shirokoe. According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, special forces officers broke down doors and confiscated computers, books, notebooks, photographs, bankbooks, and passports. The authorities took at least 10 people to FSB offices for questioning.
      Three were detained and charged with organizing activities of an “extremist organization.” They are: 43-year-old Konstantin Bazhenov, 35-year-old Aleksei Budenchuk, and 33-year-old Felix Makhammadiyev. On June 14, the Frunzensky District Court placed all three in pretrial detention until August 12.
      Tomsk, Tomsk Region
      Law enforcement raided several homes and cars belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tomsk between 10 a.m. on June 3 and about 2 a.m. the next day, the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia reported. Officers confiscated Bibles, mobile phones, tablets, computers, photographs, money, bank cards, and other personal possessions. They took about 30 people to the police anti-extremism center for questioning.
      According to a statement by the Tomsk Investigative Committee, the searches were part of a joint FSB and Internal Affairs Ministry investigation into meetings of Jehovah’s Witness residents in Tomsk. Investigative authorities allege that worshipers studied prohibited, “extremist” religious materials and carried out organized religious activities in violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center.
      Representatives of the Jehovah’s Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that 48-year-old Sergei Klimov was detained after a search of his home on June 3, was charged with organizing activities of an “extremist organization,” and will remain in pretrial detention until August 4.
      Magadan, Magadan Region
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia reported that on May 30, FSB and law enforcement officers arrested Konstantin Petrov, 31; Yevgeny Zyablov, 41; and Sergei Yerkin, 61, after searching their homes in the city of Magadan (Magadan Region). On the same day, authorities in Khabarovsk (Khabarovsky Krai) detained Ivan Puyda, 39, based on a court order from Magadan. All four are accused of organizing activities of an “extremist organization” and will remain in pretrial detention until July 29.
      Naberezhnye Chelny, Republic of Tatarstan
      Police and FSB officials searched the homes of 10 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny, in south-central Russia, on the evening of May 27. The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia reported that the searches lasted “well into the night.”
      Investigators arrested Ilham Karimov, 37; Vladimir Myakushin, 30; Konstantin Matrashov, 25;   Aydar Yulmetyev, 24, on suspicion of organizing and participating in the activities of an “extremist organization” and placed them in pretrial detention until July 25. The Naberezhnye Chelny City Court displays records of all four hearings. According to the religious freedom monitoring group Forum 18, Karimov, Myakushin, and Matrashov have appealed their pretrial detention.
      Perm, Perm Krai
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia reported that on the evening of May 22, Aleksandr Solovyev, 48, and his wife, Anna, were detained at the railway station in Perm, in the Ural Mountains region, after returning from a trip abroad. Law enforcement then searched the couple’s home and reportedly seized property deeds, photographs, several Bibles, and a Wi-Fi router.
      Anna was released, but her husband was held for two days. He was released on May 24, and the Sverdlovsk District Court ordered him confined to house arrest. According to Forum 18, he is being investigated on charges of participating in the activities of an “extremist organization.”
      Before the 2017 Supreme Court ruling banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center, Solovyov chaired the Perm Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation, according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia website.
      Birobidzhan, Jewish Autonomous Region
      On May 17 in Birobidzhan, southeast Russia, police raided the homes of at least nine Jehovah’s Witnesses. The raids were carried out by approximately 150 law enforcement officers. An official reportedly saidthat the operation was code-named “Judgment Day.”
      On May 18, 55-year-old Alam Aliev was placed in pretrial detention until July 13 under suspicion of organizing activities of an “extremist organization.” The FSB stated that its request to detain Aliev “was motivated by the fact that the crime is classified as grave” and because “[t]he suspect may impede the criminal proceedings, put pressure on witnesses, and also evade investigative and judicial authorities.” Following an appeal by Aliev’s lawyer, Aliev was released from detention on May 25 but still faces charges.
      Orenburg, Orenburg Region
      On May 16 in Orenburg Region, Investigative Committee authorities, FSB officials, and armed National Guard officers searched 18 homes in four cities. Vitaly Svintsov, a lawyer representing two Jehovah’s Witnesses in the region, told Human Rights Watch that nine people were charged with organizing or participating in the activities of an “extremist organization.” Two of them, Aleksandr Suvorov and Vladimir Kochnev, both 38, remain in pretrial custody until July 14. Twenty-six-year-old Vladislav Kolbanov remains under house arrest. The other six remain under travel restrictions while the investigation is ongoing, Svintsov said.
      Photographs of some of the raids posted on the Orenburg Investigative Committee website show FSB officials and riot police in bulletproof vests and masks approaching Jehovah’s Witnesses’ residences.
      A statement by the Orenburg Investigative Committee said that investigative operations were “carefully planned and organized” by law enforcement with the aim of “seizing documents and items relevant to the criminal case, as well as identifying other persons involved in unlawful activities.” Investigators allege that the suspects “organized activities of a subdivision of Jehovah’s Witnesses [Administrative Center] by calling and holding meetings, organizing the recruitment of new members, and communicating the contents of religious literature to meeting participants.”
      Shuya, Ivanovo Region
      Forum 18 reported that law enforcement raided four homes in the town of Shuya, western Russia, early on the morning of April 20.
      Dmitry Mikhailov, 33, was arrested on May 29, over a month after his home was searched and placed in pretrial custody until July 19. He is being accused of “financing extremist activities.”  
      On April 20, the Ivanovo Region Investigative Committee released a statement about the home searches, alleging that since the beginning of 2018, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Shuya had been studying literature “containing statements degrading human dignity . . . and elements of propaganda of the exclusivity of one religion over another.”
      Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai
      Several homes belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses were reportedly raidedon April 19 in the far-east city of Vladivostok.
      Human Rights Watch was able to confirm that on April 23 Valentin Osadchuk, 42, was placed under arrest by Frunzensky District Court on charges of participation in the activities of an “extremist organization” after authorities searched his home and confiscated computers, notebooks, and other devices. He remains in pretrial detention until September 20. Representatives of the Jehovah’s Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that five others face the same charges but remain at liberty subject to travel restrictions.
      Polyarny, Murmansk Region
      On the evening of April 18 in the town of Polyarny in the Murmansk region, armed law enforcement raided at least seven homes and arrested two JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, Roman Markin, 44, and Viktor Tifimov, 61. Others whose homes were searched were taken to the local investigative unit for questioning and later released without charge.
      The Murmansk Region Investigative Committee stated on its websitethat National Guard officers and FSB officials who led the home searches confiscated computer drives and religious literature. A video posted to the website shows men wearing camouflage uniforms and helmets forcing open a door with a pry bar. The Investigative Committee said that beginning in April 2017, the suspects had allegedly “organized activities of the religious organization [Jehovah’s Witnesses] by convening and holding meetings, organizing the recruitment of new members, and leading studies of religious texts at meetings.”
      MarkinÂ’s lawyer, Arli Chimirov, told Human Rights Watch that armed officers broke down MarkinÂ’s door and told him and his 16-year-old daughter, who was at home with him, to lie on the floor while law enforcement threatened them with firearms and searched the apartment. MarkinÂ’s daughter was escorted to the investigative unit and was questioned for several hours along with her mother, who arrived some time later.
      On April 23, 2018, the Polyarny District Court placed Markin in pretrial custody until June 11. Markin’s lawyer unsuccessfully appealed the decision. According to court documents on file with Human Rights Watch, investigative authorities requested that Markin be placed in pretrial detention because of the risk that he “may continue criminal activities, threaten participants in the legal proceedings, hide or destroy evidence, and also fail to attend preliminary court hearings.” On June 4, Markin’s pretrial detention was extended to October 11.
      TifimovÂ’s lawyer, Yegiazar Chernikov, told Human Rights Watch that beginning in October 2017, investigators had been collecting as evidence audio and video recordings of conversations among JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. Chernikov said that on several occasions, a woman involved in the investigation invited Tifimov to her home, where audio and video recording devices were in place, and asked him questions given to her by investigative authorities and designed to incriminate him.
      Tifimov was originally detained until June 12, 2018, but his pretrial detention was extended until October 11.
      Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan
      The religious freedom group Forum 18 reported that approximately 60 law enforcement officers, some of them armed, raided eight homes in the city of Ufa, south-central Russia, on the morning of April 10. Investigators confiscated personal belongings, books, and photographs. The lawyer representing one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who was detained said that authorities threatened worshipers with weapons, in one case holding an automatic weapon to a person’s head.
      At least 20 people were reportedly taken to the Lenin District Investigative Department for questioning and fingerprinting but were later released. One girl was called for questioning, but when she showed up for the meeting with her mother and the director of her school, the investigator failed to appear.
      On April 12, Anatoly Vilikevich, 32, was arrested on suspicion of organizing activities of an “extremist organization,” and placed in pretrial detention. Vilikevich’s lawyer, Vitaly Svintsov, who appealed the order, told Human Rights Watch that on June 21 the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan overturned the lower court’s decision and placed him under house arrest.
      A statement by the Bashkortostan Republic Investigative Committeealleged that Vilikevich had organized a local chapter of the banned Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center. Investigators who searched his home confiscated “prohibited literature,” the statement said.

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      Since 2007, dozens of pieces of JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ literature have been banned and placed on the federal registry of banned extremist materials. Pictured here, stacks of booklets distributed by a local leader of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in the Siberian town of Gorno-Altaysk are seen during a court session on December 16, 2010.
       ©2010 Reuters/Alexandr Tyryshkin
    • By Jesus.defender
      The end of Nazi Fascist hierarchy will come and will mark the end forever of demon rule.’ (Watchtower, 15 December 1941, p 377)
      The new book titled Children will prove useful ‘in the remaining months before Armageddon’ (Watchtower, 15 September 1941, p 288)
      1983 "Avoid independent thinking...questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization." (Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1983 pg. 22)
      1983 "Fight against independent thinking." (Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1983 pg. 27 )
       
      1922 "The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914," (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262).

      1923 "Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge," (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1923, p. 106).
       
      "So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come?  These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? . . . This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses . . . Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another thing to prove it," (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197).
       
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      In a surprising move, a branch of the Russian government has called out the actions of their government’s police and judicial forces in the enforcement of the ban of Jehovah Witnesses.  The ban occurred last year when the Russian Supreme Court labeled the religious denomination an “extremist organization.” This has led to arrests of over a dozen Jehovah’s Witnesses, the closing of all administrative and religious worship buildings, and near constant harassment by police forces for the private practice of their faith. Several wives of arrested Jehovah’s Witnesses created a joint statement begging for their release. The Presidential Council is designed to help assist the Russian president in protecting human rights. In a written statement, the organization questioned the actions of the past year, saying “It cannot but be a cause for concern because the criminal prosecutions and detentions have taken on a systemic character.” This comes at a unique time for human rights and Russia. The country deflected demands by the United States to release over a hundred political and religious prisoners earlier in the week, including Jehovah’s Witnesses. The United States pressure was labeled Western propaganda. Conversely, Russia has been proposing that it takes the United States spot on the United Nations Human Rights Council. The United States announced pulling out of the international body earlier this week. Given the authoritarian control Putin has over the government, the actions of the presidential council may be purely a symbolic measure to prevent criticism from the West and gain support for their bid to join the UN Human Rights Council. It is unclear what steps will be taken and what the lasting effect will be on the government. What is not addressed in the letter is the physical violence and threats that have occurred from vigilante groups and private citizens, which seem emboldened by the government’s law and police actions.

      Read more at World Religion News: "Russian Government Criticizes Putin for Treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses" https://www.worldreligionnews.com/?p=53681
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      By Andrew Osborn
      MOSCOW (Reuters) – Advisers to President Vladimir Putin have questioned the legality of a slew of criminal cases opened against members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and asked the General Prosecutor’s office to protect the group’s freedom of belief.
      Russia’s Supreme Court ruled in April last year that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were an “extremist” organisation and must disband, a move the group unsuccessfully appealed.
      Since then, at least 19 members have been detained on criminal charges in Russia with one, Danish citizen Dennis Christensen, now held for more than a year and put on trial for extremism.
      The Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, which advises Putin but does not have policy-making powers itself, said it believed law enforcement agencies were flouting the constitution and misinterpreting last year’s ruling by locking people up for collective bible reading and praying.
      “It cannot but be a cause for concern because the criminal prosecutions and detentions have taken on a systemic character,” the council said in a statement which the Jehovah’s Witnesses publicised on Thursday.
      “The situation evokes associations with the Soviet period when Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered groundless repression because of their faith.”
      The fact that the council has intervened on the group’s behalf does not necessarily mean that Putin will take up their cause though the subject is likely to be raised at the council’s next meeting with the Russian leader.
      ‘GLIMMER OF OPTIMISM’
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses, a United States-based Christian denomination known for its door-to-door preaching and rejection of military service and blood transfusions, has around 170,000 followers in Russia.
      The U.S. State Department on Monday said it was deeply concerned by what it described as the growing number of religious prisoners held in Russia, saying that people were being persecuted “in retaliation for peaceful religious practice.”
      And on Tuesday, more than 60 well-known Russian writers, historians and rights activists signed an appeal demanding the authorities stop prosecuting the group, describing the legal onslaught on its members as a test for Russian society.
      Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a member of the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said on Thursday the council’s intervention had given his group “a glimmer of optimism.”
      “We hope that common sense will prevail and that someone wise … will say that this has all gone too far,” he said.
      “If the authorities can do this to us they can apply the same logic to do the same to anyone in Russia.”
      (Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The wives of Jehovah’s Witnesses rounded up and imprisoned in Russia have written an open letter to a top adviser of President Vladimir Putin, asking him to stop the campaign of terror against the religious group.
      “This open letter to you is a cry of desperation. People who are very dear to us, our husbands, those who feed us, the fathers of our children, peaceable, honest people, who are always ready to help others, are being thrown behind bars for being suspected of reading Bible commandments and praying together with us and our children,” reads the letter directed to Mikhail Fedotov, a close adviser of Putin and chairman of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights. The letter is signed by 10 wives of Jehovah’s Witnesses from across Russia.
      “In return for freedom and a quiet life, we are being invited to disown our faith. This is not just a figure of speech—investigators have directly invited us to sign documents in order to avoid punishment for ‘extremism’…If the Russian government does not quickly put an end to this growing campaign of terror, the administration will be faced with a nation-wide human rights catastrophe,” the letter continues.
      The Russian government labeled the Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist sect in April 2017, and has since been imprisoning its members and charging them with extremism. Members of the group have had their homes raided by masked men and their places of worship shuttered
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Boris Zolotarevsky, the coordinator of Alexey Navalny’s campaign office in Chelyabinsk, is having a rough month. Already on a hunger strike while serving a 25-day jail sentence for organizing a local unpermitted anti-Putin protest on May 5, Zolotarevsky is now reportedly a suspect in an extremism case.
      On May 29, police apparently found banned religious literature at his home: several books printed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which Russia’s Supreme Court outlawed in April 2017 as an extremist organization. A source confirmed to the news agency Interfax that Zolotarevsky previously filed a request with Russia's draft board to avoid military service on religious grounds.
      Police detained more than 200 demonstrators in Chelyabinsk on May 5 — the most in any city, after Moscow and St. Petersburg. In most places where protesters were detained, local law enforcement have responded with misdemeanor charges, but police in Chelyabinsk launched a “hooliganism” felony investigation, which carries a seven-year maximum prison sentence.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Officers launched 28 raids on Jehovah's Witness homes in May, often forcing entry, threatening occupants with weapons and seizing literature and other items. Under criminal investigation are 7 Jehovah's Witnesses in pre-trial detention, 1 under house arrest and at least 11 under travel restrictions. Two others are already on trial.
      Law enforcement officers, some armed and in body armour, raided a further 28 Jehovah's Witness homes in May in Orenburg Region, the Jewish Autonomous Region, and the Urals city of Perm. The latest raids led to detentions, house arrest, travel restrictions, and criminal charges for at least another 11 people.

      Seven Jehovah's Witnesses are now known to be in pre-trial detention facing criminal investigations or charges. Another is under house arrest, while at least a further 11 are under travel restrictions. In two other cases, trials are already underway (see full list at base of this article).

      As in previous raids, law enforcement agents often forced entry to properties, threatened the occupants with weapons, and confiscated personal items, including bank cards. They then took Jehovah's Witnesses, including minors, away for interrogation, sometimes for several hours overnight (see below).

      Law enforcement agencies carried out the searches and arrests in Perm, Birobidzhan and four towns in Orenburg Region in mid-May, in some cases accompanied by National Guard troops or riot police armed with machine guns. They came about a month after similar searches in Ufa (Bashkortostan Republic), Polyarny (Murmansk Region), Shuya (Ivanovo Region), and Vladivostok. Criminal investigations are continuing in these places, as well as in Belgorod and Kemerovo, where Jehovah's Witnesses also suffered armed raids in January and February (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      Officials know that using troops and weapons including machine guns on raids is unnecessary, as Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide are a doctrinally pacifist community whose young male members worldwide will not do compulsory military service or any other military-connected activity. However, even before Jehovah's Witnesses were banned in Russia their communities were frequently raided by heavily armed and camouflaged officials who frequently planted "evidence" (see eg. F18News 24 October 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2228).

      The Jehovah's Witnesses caught up in 2018's wave of prosecutions are accused of "continuing the activities" of the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre, their principal administrative body in Russia, which was outlawed as an "extremist" organisation and liquidated in 2017 (see F18News 18 July 2017 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2297).

      Muslims also face "extremism" investigation, trials, jailing 

      Prosecutors have also long jailed Muslims who meet to read the works of late Turkish theologian Said Nursi. Four were jailed in 2017 (see F18News 8 December 2017 http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2339). People who meet to study his writings can be accused of continuing the activities of "Nurdzhular", which was banned as an "extremist organisation" by the Supreme Court in 2008, even though Muslims in Russia deny it has ever existed (see Forum 18's "extremism" Russia religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=2215).

      Five Muslims are known by Forum 18 to be already on trial for having met to study Nursi's works – three in Krasnoyarsk, one in Novosibirsk, and one in Izberbash in the Republic of Dagestan. Another man, from Sharypovo in Krasnoyarsk Region, is due to appear in court soon (see F18News 27 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2373).

      Up to 10 years' imprisonment?

      If convicted, the Jehovah's Witnesses charged or under investigation could be imprisoned for up to 10 years under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity"), or up to six years under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity").

      One criminal investigation, in Orenburg, is also taking place under Criminal Code Article 282.3, Part 1 ("Financing of extremist activity"). This appears to be the first use of this Article against people exercising the internationally-recognised right to freedom of religion and belief.

      Conviction under Criminal Code Article 282.3, Part 1 ("Provision or collection of funds or rendering of financial services that are knowingly designed to finance the organisation, preparation and commission of at least one extremist crime or the support of the activities of an extremist community or an extremist organisation") carries the following penalties:

      - a fine of 300,000 to 700,000 Roubles, which is currently between two to four years' annual salary;

      - or compulsory labour for a period of one to four years, with possible deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of up to three years, or with possible restrictions on freedom for a period of up to one year;

      - or three to eight years' imprisonment.

      Forum 18 wrote to the Moscow press office of the Investigative Committee (which is leading most of the investigations) on 23 April, asking why the Jehovah's Witnesses detained in Ufa, Shuya, and Polyarny were considered so dangerous that armed force had to be used. On 10 May, Lieutenant Colonel S. Solovyov replied only that all available information on these cases could be found on the Bashkortostan, Ivanovo Region, and Murmansk Region Investigative Committee websites.

      None of the people involved in the latest prosecution yet appears on the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) "List of Terrorists and Extremists", whose assets banks are obliged to freeze. Their names may be added while their cases are still ongoing, however, meaning that they will suffer financial restrictions without any trial or conviction (see Forum 18's "extremism" Russia religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=2215).

      Officials added the name of Danish Jehovah's Witness Dennis Ole Christensen to the List shortly after his trial began.

      Christensen and Jehovah's Witness elder Arkadya Akopovich Akopyan are currently on trial for alleged "extremism" offences not directly related to the nationwide ban (see F18News 27 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2373).

      Perm

      Aleksandr Solovyov and his wife Anna had just returned from a trip abroad when law enforcement agents detained them at Perm-2 railway station on the evening of 22 May. Friends who had come to meet them said that officers put Solovyov in handcuffs and took him and his wife away in separate cars, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses reported on 24 May.

      Anna Solovyova has since been released, but Aleksandr is being held in a temporary detention centre while a judge decides on further restrictive measures. It is as yet unclear whether he will be placed in pre-trial detention or which court will rule on the matter. Under which part of Criminal Code Article 282.2 ("Organisation of" or "participation in" "the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity") he is being investigated is also unknown.

      Investigators searched the Solovyovs' home overnight on 22/23 May and seized the deeds to the flat, electronic devices, computer drives, their wifi router, photographs, and their collection of Bibles.

      Before the nationwide ban on Jehovah's Witness activity and the consequent liquidation of local communities, Aleksandr Solovyov chaired the Perm Jehovah's Witness congregation, according to federal tax records. Anna Solovyova does not appear on the list of founding members.

      As of 24 May, Solovyov was being held at the Temporary Detention Centre, ulitsa Uralskaya, 90, Perm, 614017.

      Birobidzhan: "Judgment Day"

      About 150 law enforcement officers conducted at least nine searches of Jehovah's Witness homes in Birobidzhan, capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region, early in the morning of 17 May, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses announced later that day. The operation was codenamed "Judgment Day", according to the Association.

      Officers seized personal photographs, bank cards, money, and electronic devices. So far, one person – Alam Aliyev – is known to be the subject of a criminal case under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity").

      On 18 May, Judge Marina Tsimarno of Birobidzhan District Court upheld FSB investigators' request to keep Aliyev in pre-trial custody in Birobidzhan's Investigation Prison No. 1 until 13 July, according to court records. Aliyev's lawyers submitted an appeal against his detention on 21 May. On 25 May, Judge Anzhela Sizova of the Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region upheld this appeal, citing "significant violations of criminal procedural law governing the choice of pre-trial detention as a restrictive measure". This freed Aliyev from detention after eight days. It remains unknown what restrictions he remains under.

      The FSB's request to hold Aliyev in custody "was motivated by the fact that the crime is classified as grave, for which the law provides for a sentence of imprisonment for a term of six to 10 years", according to a 21 May press statement on the court website. "During the preliminary investigation, it was established that a large number of persons took part in the activity of this organisation. The suspect is the organiser of this extremist organisation and has an actual influence on members of the association."

      Birobidzhan was home to the only registered local Jehovah's Witness congregation in the Jewish Autonomous Region, which was among those ruled "extremist" and liquidated before the Supreme Court's decision to ban the Jehovah's Witnesses nationwide. The Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region upheld the local Justice Ministry branch's suit on 3 October 2016, and the community ceased its activities on 20 December 2016, according to federal tax records. Aliyev does not appear in the records as a founder member of the community.

      Orenburg Region: Mass raids

      Investigative Committee operatives, FSB security service agents, and armed riot police carried out 18 house searches in Orenburg, Buzuluk, Perevolotsky, and Sol-Iletsk, also on 17 May.

      They took 15 people away for questioning, three of whom were then sent to a temporary detention centre, according to statements by the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses on 17 May and 21 May.

      Of these three, Judge Igor Ismaylov of Industrial District Court ruled on 19 May that one – Vladislav Kolbanov – should be placed under house arrest, while the other two – Aleksandr Suvorov and Vladimir Kochnyov – should be kept in pre-trial detention until 14 July.

      Orenburg Region Investigative Committee reported that a further six people are under travel restrictions.

      Forum 18 understands Suvorov and Kochnyov's prison address to be:

      Orenburg Region

      460000 Orenburg

      ulitsa Naberezhnaya, 7

      Investigation Prison No. 1

      The Investigative Committee said in a press statement on 22 May that nine people in Orenburg Region have been formally charged under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity"), Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in" such an organisation), and Criminal Code Article 282.3, Part 1 ("Financing of extremist activity").

      The European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses thinks that Kochnyov and Suvorov (both from Orenburg) have been charged under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1. Kolbanov (also from Orenburg), Boris Andreyev (from Perevolotsky), and Anatoly Vichkitov (from Sol-Iletsk) are also among those charged, although it remains unclear with which alleged offences.

      Before the liquidation of the Administrative Centre, Orenburg and Buzuluk had registered Jehovah's Witness communities, while Perevolotsky and Sol-Iletsk did not. According to federal tax records, Suvorov previously chaired the Central Orenburg Jehovah's Witness community, and Kochnyov was among its founding members.

      The raids on 17 May took place "as a result of carefully planned and organised operational and investigative actions", according to the Investigative Committee statement, and had the aim of "seizing documents and items relevant to the criminal case, as well as identifying other persons involved in unlawful activities".

      In raiding the historically pacifist Jehovah's Witnesses, police "anti-extremism" officers, the Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Administration, and the Orenburg Region FSB security service were also involved. The raids on pacifists also included what was described as "armed support" from National Guard special forces troops.

      Investigators allege that the suspects, knowing of the 2017 ban on Jehovah's Witness activity, "organised the activity of a structural subdivision of Jehovah's Witnesses by calling and holding meetings, organising the recruitment of new members, and communicating the contents of religious literature to meeting participants".

      The investigation is continuing, with "necessary investigative and operational-search measures underway in order to collect and consolidate a base of evidence", according to the statement.

      Telephones at Orenburg Region Investigative Committee went unanswered when Forum 18 called on 24 May to ask why officials thought armed force was necessary against pacifists.

      Polyarny, Murmansk Region

      Further details have now emerged of earlier raids on Jehovah's Witness homes in other regions (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      Two men from Polyarny in Murmansk Region are in pre-trial detention, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses confirmed on 11 May. They are Roman Markin and Viktor Trofimov, who are in custody in the city of Murmansk until 12 June. The Investigative Committee's branch in the closed district of Aleksandrovsk (which includes Polyarny) opened the case against them on 12 April . This is under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity").

      Markin and Trofimov's prison address is:

      Murmansk Region

      183027 Murmansk

      ulitsa Radishcheva, 32

      Investigation Prison No. 1

      Before the nationwide ban and liquidation of local Jehovah's Witness organisations, Viktor Trofimov chaired the Polyarny community, according to federal tax records.

      The men (who are like all Jehovah's Witnesses pacifists) were detained during armed raids on seven houses in Polyarny on 18 April, which involved armed troops and riot police "who acted extremely rudely", according to Jehovah's Witnesses. Officers searched 17 people in all and confiscated their electronic devices. Interrogations at the Investigative Department of the Northern Fleet's Polyarny Flotilla continued through the night until 7 am the next day (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      At Roman Markin's home, officers broke down his front door in the early evening, forced him and his 16-year-old daughter to lie on the floor during the search, and threatened them with weapons. Investigators questioned the 16-year-old until 3 am.

      During another search, an elderly man opened the door to the riot police, who then "pushed him so violently that he fell", the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses claims. They also hurt two women who were visiting the flat, and forced two teenage siblings to stand against the wall with their arms outstretched.

      Vladivostok

      Valentin Osadchuk remains in pre-trial detention in Vladivostok, where he is to be held until 20 June. He was formally charged on 27 April under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity"), according to the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      Forum 18 understands Osadchuk's prison address to be:

      Primorye Region

      690106 Vladivostok

      Partizansky prospekt, 28b

      Investigation Prison No. 1

      Two women, aged 66 and 83, have also been named as suspects under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity") and placed under travel restrictions, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses also reported on 10 May. The FSB security service initiated the case against them and Osadchuk on 9 April. According to Jehovah's Witnesses, the investigation involved video surveillance, followed by raids on people's homes on 19 April.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Officials from the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization say Russian law-enforcement officers have carried out “mass searches” on members’ homes in the Urals region of Orenburg and in the Far Eastern city of Birobidzhan.
      Jarrod Lopes, a spokesman for the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York, on May 17 said 150 law-enforcement personnel raided more than 20 adherents’ homes in Birobidzhan, the capital of Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region.
      The raids came after searches had been carried out on May 16 in the Orenburg region near the border with Kazakhstan in which 18 Jehovah’s Witnesses were questioned and three were taken into custody, Lopes said.
      The spokesman said a criminal case had been initiated against an adherent of the Christian sect, Alam Aliyev, and that a trial was expected on May 18.
      Russia’s Supreme Court in July 2017 upheld a ruling that the Jehovah’s Witnesses should be considered an extremist organization, effectively banning the denomination from the country.
      The original ruling, issued in April 2017, was the first time an entire registered religious organization had been prohibited under Russian law.
      Long viewed with suspicion in Russia for their positions on military service, voting, and government authority in general, the Jehovah’s Witnesses -- which claim some 170,000 adherents in Russia and 8 million worldwide -- are among several denominations that have come under increasing pressure in recent years.
      The sect began operating in Russia and across the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
      Russia's treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses has raised concerns from governments and religious organizations in the West.
      “The treatment of the Jehovah’s Witnesses reflects the Russian government’s tendency to view all independent religious activity as a threat to its control and the country’s political stability,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said after the Supreme Court ruling last year.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      ST. PETERSBURG, May 3. /TASS/. The St. Petersburg city court has upheld the decision to confiscate from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania in New York the compound in the community of Solnechnoye on the Gulf of Finland and convert it to state property, the St. Petersburg courts’ press service said on Thursday.
      Earlier, a court of lower instance found that officially the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia in 2000 donated the real estate compound on the coast of the Gulf of Finland to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, registered on US territory. However, according to the courts’ press-service, the Administrative Center continued to use the facilities as before, which was a reason enough to declare the transaction fictitious and void. The property was taken over by the state.
      The compound consists of sixteen items - plots of land, homes and buildings more than 880 million rubles ($13.9 million) worth.
      Earlier, TASS reported that the defendants had disagreed with the lower instance court’s ruling and filed an appeal at the St. Petersburg city court. In particular, they argued that substantive law had been violated and anti-extremist law sanctions were used against them without a reason.
      Russia’s Supreme Court had declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and outlawed its activity in Russia.


      More:

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    • By Witness
      My mother was a “plein air” artist, and although it sounds rather sophisticated, this artist scraped for every brush and tube of paint she could get.  When raising five children, I am sure her love of painting conflicted with the necessary care of her offspring.  Many times, it was evident that the artwork took precedence, especially when dinner’s aromas were overpowered by the lingering fumes of the day’s use of turpentine; a sure sign that an unfinished piece of art was given top priority.
       Her philosophy was, never copy another artist’s work; that of a well-known painter, or otherwise.
      As a girl, I was frequently in tow with father, mother, little brother, art supplies and camping gear piled in the back of a station wagon, and heading for the mountains.  Other artists would arrive for the ‘art fest’ over the weekend.  As they readied themselves before the scene to be painted, their own unique tools, color choices, and techniques emerged to achieve what they envisioned of the natural scene before them.  Even through my young eyes, I could clearly understand the intent of each artist’s desire to capture the scene.  Mountains, plains, trees, sage, water were all identifiable from a different, but recognizable perspective. No one owned the scene, only the work and technique they used, to illustrate what they perceived. 
      Art forgery is a different matter. The intent is to deceive and pilfer the unsuspecting one into thinking they are buying the original piece of art.  In the case of copied works by the famous “Masters”, detailed analysis using microscopes and x-rays detects the evidence of modern paints and materials.  Also, extensive, historical research is applied to identify a forgery.
      Note the comments made by an article on art forgery:
      “Regardless of what technique is used, every authentication starts with determining whether a work has a provenance, which is THE RECORD OF A WORK’S OWNERSHIP HISTORY. Ideally, THE RECORD SHOULD STRETCH ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE WORK’S CREATION.
      “Unfortunately, an unidentified forgery will accumulate its own provenance the longer it goes undiscovered, so the provenance becomes INCREASINGLY REINFORCED AS TIME PASSES. Forgers will often take advantage of the loose provenance by creating an ILLUSION of provenance along with forging the work. THEY WILL BUILD A FRAUDULENT IDENTITY for the work with fake documents and staged photographs. The longer the forgery goes undetected, the harder it may be to detect that the documents are not genuine.”   (https://alj.orangenius.com/techniques-art-forgery/)
      False prophets are common, but could a spiritual counterfeit picture of “truth” be painted in order to rob an individual not only of their physical investments but of their spiritual life?  Let’s briefly put the Watchtower under a microscope using a valid historical record, the Bible, and see what its “provenance” shows.  At one point it made the comment,
      "As Christians, we face up to similar challenges today. We cannot take part in any modern version of idolatry—be it worshipful gestures toward an image or symbol or the imputing of SALVATION to a person or an ORGANIZATION." Watchtower 1990 11/1 p. 26 Our Relative Subjection to the Superior Authorities
      This is a similar stand of CT Russell when first gathering his Bible Students, when he said, “Beware of ‘organization’.  It is wholly unnecessary.  The Bible rules will be the only rules you need”.  Wt 9/15/1895
      What about a statement made BEFORE the 1990 WT. quote? 
      WT. 10/1/1967 p. 591:   "Make haste TO IDENTIFY THE VISIBLE THEOCRATIC ORGANIZATION of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR LIFE. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect”
      Watchtower appears to be staging some confusing fake documents, at whatever angle we look at it.  Which quote is genuine, which is a lie?  They both carry their own lying qualities.  Today, the Watchtower has completed painting its illusion of a spirit-directed organization providing a spiritual paradise to lead you into God’s Kingdom.   2 Thess 2:1-4; Jer 8:11; 14:13-14; 28:8,9
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      Watchtower 16/11 pg 16-20:
      BE LOYAL TO JEHOVAH AND SUPPORT HIS ORGANIZATION - “Yes, if we are LOYAL to Jehovah and follow the direction he gives us by means of his organization, HE WILL GIVE US EVERLASTING LIFE and he will be loyal to us forever!” 
      WT 15/8/15 pg 15-20:
      PREPARE NOW FOR LIFE IN THE NEW WORLD -  “If we want to be ready for life in the new world, we need to learn to be CONTENT and to COOPERATE with Jehovah’s ORGANIZATION and with one another.
      To prepare for everlasting life in the new world, we need to OBEY the direction from Jehovah’s ORGANIZATION now.” Wt 15/8/15  pg 15-20
      Concisely, a JW must:
      BE LOYAL TO THE ORGANIZATION
      FOLLOW AND OBEY THE DIRECTION OF THE ORGANIZATION
      LEARN TO BE CONTENT WITH THE ORGANIZATION
      LEARN TO COOPERATE WITH THE ORGANIZATION
      This is now your solid, established teaching, JWs.  The requirement held out for everlasting life, according to the Watchtower is total reliance on, and devotion to, the organization; along with a spurious, idolatrous attempt made, to link it with God.  Isa 46:5; Rev 13:1,5-8 The necessity of the organization has been a gradual development within the last 100 years; a provenance that has now come under scrutiny. Rev 16:13-16; Ezek 8:6; Amos 7:8; Rev 11:1  Of course, we believe that the faithful early Christians received salvation.  What about God’s anointed ones and believers over the centuries since Christ, in various parts of the world?  JWs, we know there was no “organization” that TRUE Christians relied on as one’s salvation throughout the centuries. Rev 20:4  Or, do you feel there was not a single soul that was faithful to God and Christ after the formation of the early congregations, UNTIL the Watchtower organization emerged?  Col 2:8; Rev 13:1,4,10   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      It appears a wrench has been thrown into the working out of our salvation; and indeed, this is the case.  Ask yourself, where is Christ in all of this organization business?  When Jesus said, “destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days”, did he mean that an earthly, man-made corporation decked out with major complexes world-wide and modern-day synagogues was to be established 1900 years later? 
      “BUT HE WAS SPEAKING OF THE TEMPLE OF HIS BODY.  So when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they BELIEVED THE SCRIPTURE and the STATEMENT Jesus had made.”  John 2:19-22
      Does this “temple” require money and physical upkeep?  Does it require any earthly goods whatsoever?  Phil 3:18,19 
      “For you know that it was NOT with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 
       He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. THROUGH HIM you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”  1 Pet 1:18-21
      According to scripture, an earthly organization established with your “silver and gold” is not Bible-based as necessary for salvation.  Exod 32:8,4; Isa 42:8; Rom 1:20-22,25; Acts 4:12 
      We are revealing a case of forgery; a counterfeit “Mount Zion”, the Temple of God. (Heb 12:22,23)  It appears so incredibly authentic that God’s Chosen ones and companions have been lulled into passivity by its illustrious beauty and promise of peace if one remains within its picture.  1 Thess 5:3  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      From Pearl Doxsey’s article, “What’s Wrong with Peace and Security”?
      “Is this perception of present peace and security accurate?
      What is the danger of feeling safe from Satan due to the supposed spiritual shelter of an organization?
      Prophecy tells us that when Satan makes his final attack against the woman's seed,
      they do not expect the attack, nor perceive their vulnerability ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. )
      Can you see that this overlaps with the period where the leaders of God's people are falsely declaring peace and security? ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. )
      Because of their drowsy, overconfident condition, they are deceived and conquered ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ).”    Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      Now, on to Pearl’s  “An Illustration”:
      “Satan knows he cannot prevent the prophetic SPIRITUAL signs and events which Jesus foretold for the end, from coming to pass ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ).
      Satan realizes that the only way to prevent the remnant from grasping hold of the life-saving warnings, is to stage a counterfeit earlier fulfillment ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) both religious and secular. He has the power to do so ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ). Satan hopes that the remnant who are searching for the truthful interpretations of unfolding end-time events,
      will be detoured, by Satan's own premature counterfeit "fulfillment" ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ).

      Satan cannot change nor fulfill the true SPIRITUAL signs Jesus gave. But he can fabricate a decoy within his own physical, visible realm, which IS under his power ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ;  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ).
      He must do this before the True signs arrive.
      Yet, he cannot fabricate a counterfeit for EVERY single true prophetic spiritual detail that Jesus gave.

      Will the chosen notice these discrepancies? Will they prove attentive enough to prove wise, faithful, awake, sober, and discreet?”
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      (This article is a valuable first step in understanding end time prophesy concerning God’s chosen/anointed people.)
      The article on art forgery said, “Finding a forgery can cast doubt on the authenticators and damage the reputation of the sellers”. 
      The “two witnesses” of Rev 11:3, who work for Christ, reveal the authenticity of the Body of Christ as God’s Temple Zion and expose the Watchtower organization and its Harlot leaders for what they are -fakes, who paint with layers of lies. Ezek 13:10-12; Matt 23:12, 27; John 16:13; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.     JWs!  As companion “sellers” of the Watchtower and its “good news”, your reputation with the Head of the anointed Body – Christ – will continue to deteriorate!  Sadly, many doubt the authenticity of Christ’s anointed “two witnesses” whose job it is to draw attention to this forgery.  Zech 4:3,11,14; Matt 10:20; 2 Cor 10:4,5     Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      Art forgery can be a federal and state offense.  What will happen to the Watchtower for its blasphemous offense before God?  Scripture tells us - Zech 4:7; Rev 8:8 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      I am sure you will say the organization is necessary in spreading the “good news of the kingdom”; yet, the good news is, the false promise of peace and security has been exposed, stopping short any further deceit and pilfering to come against the anointed (“Jacob”) and their companions who see it as it is – an illusion. 2 Thess 2:9-12  They come forth eagerly desiring to shed Watchtower’s sins and to accept freely, the Truth from Christ.  The authentic works of the Father and Christ have been found by those with keen understanding and eyes that see. God has redeemed His people.  Matt 7:7; 10:6, 1 Cor 1:28,29; Isa 48:20; Rev 18:4-8  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      Other articles are found on Pearl’s blog:
      YHWH’S GENUINE MOUNTAIN
      ORIGIN OF DARKNESS/”GOOD NEWS”/WOMAN’S SON
      4womaninthewilderness
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The criminal trial in Krasnoyarsk Region of a fourth local Muslim accused of "extremism" for meeting with others to study the works of Muslim theologian Said Nursi appears imminent. Other criminal trials on similar charges of Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims continue.
      The criminal trial appears imminent of a further Muslim from Krasnoyarsk Region charged with "continuing the activities of an extremist organisation" for meeting to study the works of the late Turkish Muslim theologian Said Nursi, Forum 18 has found. Among the three Muslims already on trial in Krasnoyarsk on the same criminal charges is a Muslim whose previously unknown trial began in January.

      The latest case brings to six the total number of people known to be on trial or soon to come to court for alleged involvement in "Nurdzhular", which Muslims in Russia deny even exists. Two Jehovah's Witnesses are also on trial for extremism-related offences (see below).

      Criminal cases were opened in April against a further seven Jehovah's Witnesses for allegedly continuing to meet after the nationwide ban on Jehovah's Witness activity came into force in July 2017 (see F18News 23 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2372).

      If convicted under Criminal Code Article 282.2, both Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims who read Nursi's works could be jailed for up to ten years under Part 1 ("Organisation of the activities of a banned extremist organisation") or up to six years under Part 2 ("Participation in the activities of a banned extremist organisation").

      Typically, Muslims who study Nursi's writings meet in private homes, with one or more expounding on a particular book. They also pray, eat, and drink tea together. They do not seek any state permission for such meetings.

      Law enforcement agencies interpret such meetings as organised activity by "Nurdzhular" (derived from the Turkish for "Nursi followers"), which was ruled "extremist" and prohibited by the Supreme Court in 2008, despite the fact that Muslims in Russia say that no such association even exists.

      Courts have banned many Russian translations of Nursi's books, despite their not calling for violence or the violation of human rights (see Forum 18's Russia "extremism" religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2215).

      Subsequently, people who have met to study Nursi's books have been prosecuted under Criminal Code Article 282.2 ("Organisation of" or "participation in" "the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity").

      Since the 2017 liquidation of the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre as an "extremist" organisation, Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia are now also in danger of being prosecuted under Criminal Code Article 282.2 if they continue to meet for worship or Bible study. In some towns, this was already a danger after earlier "extremism" bans on local communities.

      Punishments

      Amendments to the Criminal Code in July 2016 introduced harsher penalties for "extremism"-related offences (see Forum 18's "extremism" Russia religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=2215).

      An individual charged since then (such as the two Muslims recently charged in Krasnoyarsk Region) could be sentenced to the following under Criminal Code Article 282.2 ("Organisation of" or "participation in" "the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity"):

      Part 1 – a fine of 400,000 to 800,000 Roubles (or two to four years' salary); or six to 10 years' imprisonment followed by restrictions on pursuing certain jobs and activities for up to 10 years and restrictions on freedom for one to two years;

      Part 2 – a fine of 300,000 to 600,000 Roubles (or two to three years' salary); compulsory labour for one to four years with possible restrictions on pursuing certain jobs and activities for two to six years; or two to six years' imprisonment followed by restrictions on pursuing certain jobs and activities for up to five years or restrictions on freedom for up to a year.

      A fine of 300,000 Roubles (42,000 Norwegian Kroner, 4,350 Euros or 5,300 US Dollars) is about eight months' average wages for those in formal work.

      For any defendant whose alleged offence took place before 20 July 2016, earlier provisions remain in place, with fines of 300,000 to 500,000 Roubles, compulsory labour of up to five years or prison sentences of two to eight years under Part 1, and fines of up to 300,000 Roubles, compulsory labour of up to three years, or prison sentences of up to four years under Part 2.

      Krasnoyarsk: Further trial begins 

      Two further Muslims in Krasnoyarsk Region, Sabirzhon Shamsidinovich Kabirzoda (born 4 May 1991) and Yevgeny Igoryevich Sukharev (born 9 April 1990), are facing prosecution under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2 ("Participation in the activities of a banned extremist organisation").

      Kabirzoda and Sukharev are friends of two Muslims who are already on trial in Krasnoyarsk for alleged involvement in "Nurdzhular", a fellow Muslim who is following the case told Forum 18 on 20 April. Kabirzoda and Sukharev, however, are being tried separately, having been charged much later.

      Tajik-born Kabirzoda, who appears to work as a plasterer in Krasnoyarsk, is already on trial at the city's Soviet District Court, where prosecutors lodged his case on 22 December 2017. By this time, he had already been a suspect since December 2016 in the case against two other Muslims who read Nursi's works, Andrei Dedkov and Andrei Rekst (see below).

      This investigation was carried out by Krasnoyarsk Region FSB security service, which has repeatedly failed to respond to Forum 18's questions about the case.

      Kabirzoda has undergone nine hearings so far before Judge Marina Shtruba, with the next due on 14 May, according to the court website. He is not in custody or under house arrest, a fellow Muslim told Forum 18 on 26 April, and may not be under travel restrictions, "just an obligation to attend court".

      Kabirzoda was added on 20 November 2017 to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) "List of Terrorists and Extremists", whose assets banks are obliged to freeze.

      Sharypovo: Trial imminent?

      The trial appears imminent of Yevgeny Sukharev, from the Krasnoyarsk Region town of Sharypovo. He is also accused of involvement in the "Nurdzhular cell" allegedly run by Andrei Dedkov.

      After an investigation by the Krasnoyarsk Region branch of the Investigative Committee, Sukharev was charged on 12 February 2018 and his case lodged at Sharypovo City Court on 27 March 2018. No date has yet been set for his first hearing before Judge Inga Gavritskaya.

      Sukharev is currently under travel restrictions. He does not yet appear on the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists".

      In the Investigative Committee document officially charging Sukharev, seen by Forum 18, he is described as having been a "follower" of Said Nursi since October 2012. From July 2014 to March 2015, the document continues, Sukharev went to Turkey to study Nursi's teachings. He is accused of bringing banned books and brochures into Russia on his return.

      The document also outlines various gatherings at Sukharev's or his friends' homes in Sharypovo and Krasnoyarsk. At these meetings, Sukharev is accused of quoting from Nursi's writings, "applying knowledge and skills he acquired by studying the Risale-i Nur collection, using this literature as a single set of propaganda, influencing the religious feelings of those present with the goal of a step-by-step transformation of their personalities and change in their worldview in accordance with the ideology of [Nurdzhular], pursuing a goal of Islamisation of the population and creation of an Islamic state".

      Investigators name Andrei Rekst and Sabirzhon Kabirzoda as having been present at a "lesson" at which Sukharev quoted from Risale-i Nur. They refer to Andrei Dedkov only as "a person against whom separate criminal proceedings are underway", who organised the cell of which Sukharev was allegedly a part.

      According to the charges, the FSB security service raided Sukharev's rented flat in Sharypovo on 24 March 2017, "and on that same day Sukharev's criminal activity in Krasnoyarsk Region was thwarted". Officers seized several volumes from the Risale-i Nur collection (mainly single copies, Forum 18 notes, with a few duplicates) as well as Mary Weld's "Islam in Modern Turkey", a biography of Nursi which has also been banned in Russia as "extremist".

      Krasnoyarsk: Trials of Muslims continue into second year

      Andrei Nikolayevich Dedkov (born 16 June 1979), the alleged leader of the Krasnoyarsk "Nurdzhular cell", has now been on trial at Soviet District Court in Krasnoyarsk for just over a year. There have been 19 hearings in his case so far before Judge Sergei Tupeko, the latest on 17 April 2018. He is under travel restrictions, having been released from pre-trial detention in March 2017 after nearly twelve months.

      Dedkov's next hearing is due on 3 May, according to the court website.

      On 18 April, state drug control officers searched Dedkov's home and those of three other Krasnoyarsk Muslims for narcotics, a fellow Muslim who reads Nursi's works told Forum 18 the following day. The officers found nothing, but took all four men to the drug control service's headquarters and questioned them, before letting them go.

      "A special interest was shown in the messaging apps the Muslims used," their fellow Muslim added, and their phones were confiscated for further examination.

      This is the third time Dedkov has been prosecuted for allegedly organising "Nurdzhular" activities. The first case against him ran out of time in 2012. The second ended in conviction in 2015, but the consequent fine was dropped after the statute of limitations again expired during the appeal period (see F18News 21 January 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2141).

      Andrei Gennadyevich Rekst (born 14 March 1994), who is at home on bail, will next appear before Judge Radomir Larionov at Krasnoyarsk's Sverdlovsk District Court on 4 May. He has also had 19 hearings over the last year, the most recent on 26 April.

      Dedkov and Rekst were initially detained in March 2016, after the FSB security service had carried out surveillance of several Muslims in Krasnoyarsk for much of 2015 (see F18News 29 June 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2193). For holding gatherings to read and discuss Nursi's works, they were charged under Article 282.2, Part 1 (Dedkov) and Part 2 (Rekst).

      Both Rekst and Dedkov appear on the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists".

      Prosecutors have also succeeded in having religious literature seized from Rekst's flat prohibited as "extremist". Judge Natalya Bogdevich of Sverdlovsk District Court upheld the prosecutors' suit on 28 March.

      If the ruling comes into force, Said Nursi's books "Admonition of the soul", "Tract on the wonders of the Koran", "Mesnevi Nuriye", and "The path of positive service" (all from the Risale-i Nur collection of Nursi's writings; all Russian translations from Turkish, published by Sözler) will be banned from distribution in Russia.

      Forty titles by Nursi are already on the Justice Ministry's Federal List of Extremist Materials (see Forum 18's "extremism" Russia religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=2215).

      Sergei Mikhailov, representing the Sözler publishing company, told Forum 18 on 19 April that he is preparing an appeal against the ban on the latest Nursi works to Krasnoyarsk Regional Court.

      Novosibirsk: Trial of Muslim, investigation of another continue

      The trial of Imam Komil Olimovich Odilov (born 18 August 1975) is continuing at Novosibirsk's October District Court. He has undergone seven hearings so far, with the next due on 3 May, according to the court website. The court has still not questioned Odilov, his lawyer, Yuliya Zhemchugova, told Forum 18 on 19 April.

      Prosecutors have charged Odilov under Article 282.2, Part 1, with organising a "cell" of "Nurdzhular" in Novosibirsk. He denies the charges and insists that the alleged organisation does not exist and that he has never engaged in extremist activity (see F18News 1 March 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2358).

      Odilov has been on the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists" since January 2016.

      Odilov's is the only one among six related prosecutions to have come to trial so far.

      Prosecutors have closed the criminal cases against three of Odilov's fellow suspects – Uralbek Karaguzinov (born 21 July 1954), Mirsultan Takhir-ogly Nasirov (born 8 October 1997), and Bobirjon Baratovich Tukhtamurodov (born 9 July 1975) – under Criminal Code Article 76.2, which permits the "release from criminal liability" of people who have committed a minor or moderate-severity first offence upon payment of a judicial fine.

      The cases against Karaguzinov and Nasirov were ended at October District Court in November 2017. The two men have since been removed from the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists". Tukhtamurodov's prosecution ended on 7 March 2018, also by order of October District Court – as of 27 April, his name remains on the Rosfinmonitoring list.

      The FSB in Novosibirsk is also investigating Imam Ilhom Zavkidinovich Merazhov (born 1 July 1970) under Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1, and Timur Muzafarovich Atadzhanov (born 21 April 1988) under Article 282.2, Part 2. Merazhov is currently living abroad. Atadzhanov's whereabouts are unknown.

      This is the second time that Odilov and Merazhov have been prosecuted under Article 282.2, Part 1. In May 2013, they each received one-year suspended sentences for allegedly organising "Nurdzhular" activity in Novosibirsk.

      The men were among nine people detained by the FSB at an Azerbaijani cafe in Novosibirsk in December 2015 (see F18News 21 January 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2141). Most were released the next day after interrogation and searches of their homes, but Odilov was kept in custody for nine months before being allowed home under travel restrictions in September 2016.

      The Novosibirsk FSB, which was responsible for the investigation, has repeatedly refused to answer Forum 18's questions about the case.

      Dagestan: Trial of Muslim continues

      The trial of Ilgar Vagif-ogly Aliyev is continuing at Izberbash City Court in Dagestan. He has had eight hearings so far, the latest on 11 April.

      He has not been added to the Rosfinmonitoring list.

      Prosecutors have charged Aliyev under Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activities of a banned extremist organisation") for holding gatherings of fellow Muslims to study Nursi's works (see F18News 1 March 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2358).

      Aliyev is being held in Investigation Prison No. 2 in Derbent, a fellow Muslim told Forum 18, and is taken from there to Izberbash on each day of the trial.

      Oryol: Trial of Jehovah's Witness continues

      The trial of Danish Jehovah's Witness Dennis Ole Christensen (born 18 December 1972) began at Oryol's Railway District Court on 26 February. There have been five hearings so far, the latest on 25 April. Judge Aleksei Rudnev has scheduled further hearings on 14, 15, 16, 28, 29, and 30 May.

      Prosecutors accuse Christensen of "continuing the activities" of the banned and liquidated Oryol Jehovah's Witness community, and have charged him under Article 282.2, Part 1 ("Organisation of the activities of a banned extremist organisation") (see F18News 20 February 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2355).

      Jehovah's Witnesses maintain that the ban on their activities (nationwide from July 2017, in several towns beforehand as a result of local liquidations) does not amount to a prohibition of their faith, and that they retain the right under the Russian Constitution to pray together.

      Christensen's lawyer Viktor Zhenkov told the court on 23 April that the defence intends to seek clarification as to "what should be considered the consequences of liquidation of a legal entity, and what is the inviolable human right to freedom of religion".

      The case materials come to 2,500 pages, according to the jw-russia.org news website, which is administered from outside Russia. Court proceedings have been twice adjourned (on 26 February and 3 April) to allow Christensen more time to familiarise himself with the evidence against him (previously, Oryol's Soviet District Court had limited him to two weeks).

      Prosecutors complained at the 3 April hearing that asking for more time was "an intentional drawing out of proceedings", jw-russia.org reported on 9 April. Judge Rudnev, however, agreed to the defence request and granted Christensen six more meetings with his translator. The judge refused, however, to allow the defence team to view the prosecution's material evidence (video recordings, photographs, and items seized in searches).

      As the trial proceeds, Christensen remains in custody at Investigation Prison No. 1 in Oryol. On 22 February, Judge Rudnev extended his detention period to 1 August 2018. Danish Embassy officials, who have been in contact with Christensen, report that he is in good health and has not been mistreated in the prison.

      On 27 March, Christensen was added to the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists". This means that his bank accounts have been frozen and no transactions worth more than 10,000 Roubles per month are allowed.

      When Judge Rudnev asked Christensen on 23 April if he understood the accusations against him, Christensen responded that he understood only partially, since the charge was "formulated so broadly", the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18 on 24 April.

      Lawyer Anton Bogdanov pointed out that the indictment "does not contain the essence of the charge, or a description of the places and times of the commission of the alleged criminal actions or of methods, consequences, or other significant circumstances, without which it is impossible to issue a judicial decision".

      On 24 April, the court began questioning witnesses. This will be followed by the questioning of Christensen himself, then the final arguments from prosecution and defence, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses explained.

      Police and FSB security service operatives arrested Christensen at a Bible study meeting on 25 May 2017. Video footage posted online by local news site Orlovskiye Novosti shows armed personnel in body armour and balaclavas, accompanied by others in civilian clothes, entering a Kingdom Hall. The congregation inside was prevented from leaving while officers searched the building. Interrogations and searches of people's homes continued into the following morning, Jehovah's Witnesses reported (see F18News 22 June 2017 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2290).

      The registered Jehovah's Witness organisation in Oryol was ruled "extremist" and ordered liquidated in June 2016. Christensen's prosecution is derived from this local ban, and not the nationwide prohibition on Jehovah's Witness activities, which came into force in July 2017, after the case against him was initiated.

      Prokhladny: Trial of Jehovah's Witness continues

      The 70-year-old Jehovah's Witness elder Anatolya Akopovich Akopyan has so far undergone sixteen hearings in his trial at Prokhladny City Court in the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkariya, according to court records. The latest of these took place on 15 March, when Judge Oleg Golovashko ordered further "expert analysis".

      Akopyan has been charged under Article 282, Part 1 ("Actions directed at the incitement of hatred [nenavist] or enmity [vrazhda], as well as the humiliation of an individual or group of persons on the basis of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, attitude to religion, or social group") (see F18News 20 February 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2355).

      Prosecutors accuse Akopyan of giving sermons which "degraded the dignity" of Orthodox and Muslim clergy, condoning Pussy Riot's demonstration in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in 2012, and giving banned "extremist" literature to his community.

      The case against Akopyan is based on the testimony of five witnesses who are not member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, but who claim to have attended meetings at which they heard the allegedly extremist sermons and were given banned texts to distribute. This is despite the fact that their mobile phone records show that they were nowhere near the Jehovah' Witnesses' building at the times in question, defence lawyers have claimed.

      Expert Irina Balova, who analysed the statements allegedly made by Akopyan, gave evidence at hearings on 14 and 15 March, the jw-russia.org news website reported on 20 March. Judge Golovashko found shortcomings in this testimony, including the fact that Balova had ignored the absence of a punctuation mark which could give a sentence an entirely different meaning. At the request of defence lawyers, he decided to appoint a new expert for a fresh psycho-linguistic examination.

      If convicted, Akopyan may receive the following possible punishments: a fine of 300,000 to 500,000 Roubles; or 2 to 3 years' income; or compulsory labour (prinutdelnaya rabota) for 1 to 4 years with a ban on working in one's profession for up to 3 years; or 2 to 5 years' imprisonment.

      Akopyan remains under travel restrictions, but has not been placed on the Rosfinmonitoring "List of Terrorists and Extremists" as of 27 April. (END)

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