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Srecko Sostar

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: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2016288#h=36

 

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:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/lobby

 

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

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    • By Srecko Sostar
      In the OT, there is a direct command, “Thou shalt not kill (murder)!” This command should contain God's view of human life, which emphasizes that life is holy, sacred before God, but also that people must have the same feeling about the lives of other people around them.
      By reading the Bible, which describes the events before and after the occurrence of this commandment, we can see that this commandment has no absolute power. Within the same set of legal provisions, there are other commandments that were binding on the Israelites, too. For example, commands like; "Don't steal, don't lie, don't commit fornication ...". These commandments should never have been ignored or mitigated by some extraordinary circumstances.
      The specificity of this commandment, "You shall not kill," is evident in the fact that it was not of valid, obligation for all men and for all circumstances. Powerful individuals in Israel sometimes making their own decisions to go on military campaigns against others (Israelis and non-Israelis) The law also justified killing for revenge.
      In some other places, God commands the death penalty against an individual. Also, the Bible describes that God instituted great actions that justified killing of other people. These were most often military actions aimed at killing soldiers of the enemy army, but also their families. The killings of these other tribes and people were justified on the basis of several facts: 1) they were not Israelis  2) they lived in territory that the Israel nation were to conquer for themselves, 3) they belonged to other religions.
      The execution of the death penalty for a crime still exists today in some societies and legal systems. Obviously, the death penalty decision is based on balance. The one who killed must be killed. But from some other biblical examples we have seen that murder is not the only crime punishable by death. The disobedient child was also sentenced to death. Different religious affiliations or different religious beliefs also led to the death penalty. Adultery was punished by death.
      From what we have described so far, we can see how the command, "shall not kill," had a stretched meaning. It is therefore necessary to look at religious practices that are not new but may draw some parallels in symbolism and meaning. As you may already guessed, it is about an act of symbolic "killing" that is carried out in such a way to exclude (disfellowship) another person from a particular social (religious) group in a specific way - by ignoring aka shunning. Shunning (this is about JW organization in particular) can be made because of two conclusions.
      The first conclusion is reached by an individual JW member who believes that another member of the congregation has wronged/sinned against the Bible and its principles to the extent that he / she personally presents a spiritual anomaly (in the form of a spiritual illness or threat) and decides to "label" particular person as inappropriate for him to have socializing contacts. He seeks to avoid contact and minimize any literal and spiritual communion.
      In second conclusion, the conviction of the inappropriateness of a member is made by the body of the elders. The judgment may be based on the morally inappropriate behavior of an individual member, or it may be that an individual no longer agrees with the ideological and organizational structure or with the theological solutions of the organization what made him/her as "hostile element".
      This is when a person is removed from congregational members aka "spiritually killed" in such a way to excommunicate (dfd) them (he,she) from the community and impose a ban on almost every contact with the dfd person. The ban has few variations and interpretations of how the shunning should be carried out. But the very core of such a demand not to contact the excluded person is evident from the widespread practice that JW members have consistently implemented - the excluded (dfd) is not even greeted with the simplest “Good afternoon” greeting (hallo) on the street.
      JW's want to be peaceful people who go to jail in some countries because not want even to carry weapon in mandatory military service. They don't want take self-defense courses even for protect themselves when attacked. But they are motivated to be active in using spiritual weapons and warfare against ex members who are in a disagreement with doctrinal issues. And "killing" them with shunning.  
      What are your thoughts? 
       
       
       
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Church ‘shuns‘ 15-year-old, then father – ends up in court
      Posted by SDD Contributor on November 9, 2019 at 4:20 am  
      The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit against a religious congregation’s “shunning” practice, but the congregation and several other groups contend the justices had no right to even take part in the case.
      Randy Wall, a real estate agent, filed the suit against the Highwood congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Calgary, Alberta.
      Wall was expelled from the congregation for getting drunk and not be properly repentant, court records said. He pursued an appeals process through the Jehovah’s Witnesses then went to court because he said the Witnesses’ “shunning” — the practice of not associating with him in any way — hurt his business.
      He explained his two occasions of drunkenness related to “the previous expulsion by the congregation of his 15-year-old daughter.”
      A lower court opinion said: “Even though the daughter was a dependent child living at home, it was a mandatory church edict that the entire family shun aspects of their relationship with her. The respondent said the edicts of the church pressured the family to evict their daughter from the family home. This led to … much distress in the family.”
      The “distress” eventually resulted in his drunkenness, Wall said.
       
      Wall submitted to the court arguments that about half his client base, members of various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations, then refused to conduct business with him. He alleged the “disfellowship had an economic impact on the respondent.”
      During high court arguments Thursday, the congregation asked the justices to rule that religious congregations are immune to such claims in the judicial system.
      The lower courts had ruled that the courts could play a role in determining whether or not such circumstances rise to the level of violating civil rights or injuring a “disfellowshipped” party.
      The rulings from the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeals said Wall’s case was subject to secular court jurisdiction.
      A multitude of religious and political organizations joined with the congregation in arguing that Canada’s courts should not be involved.
      The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said in a filing: “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind. For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
      Previous case law has confirmed the right of religious or private voluntary groups to govern themselves and dictate who can be a member.
      But previously rulings also reveal there is room for the court system to intervene when the question centers on property or civil rights.
      The Association for Reformed Political Action described the case as having “profound implications for the separation of church and state.”
      It contends the court should keep its hands off the argument.
      “Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” said a statement from Andre Schutten, a spokesman for the group. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
      John Sikkema, staff lawyer for ARPA, said: “The issue in this appeal is jurisdiction. A state actor, including a court, must never go beyond its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court must consider what kind of authority the courts can or cannot legitimately claim. We argue that the civil government and churches each have limited and distinct spheres of authority. This basic distinction between civil and spiritual jurisdiction is a source of freedom and religious pluralism and a guard against civic totalism.”
      He continued: “Should the judiciary have the authority to decide who gets to become or remain a church member? Does the judiciary have the authority to decide who does or does not get to participate in the sacraments? Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere. Here we need separation of church and state.”
      The Alberta Court of Appeal, however, suggested the case was about more than ecclesiastical rules.
      “Because Jehovah’s Witnesses shun disfellowshipped members, his wife, other children and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were compelled to shun him,” that lower court decision said. “The respondent asked the appeal committee to consider the mental and emotional distress he and his family were under as a result of his duaghter’s disfellowship.”
      The church committee concluded he was “not sufficiently repentant.”
      The ruling said “the only basis for establishing jurisdiction over a decision of the church is when the complaint involves property and civil rights,” and that is what Wall alleged.
      “Accordingly, a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged.”
       
                     
    • By Srecko Sostar
      WT Society and JW Organization looking on Education of Priests in "worldly" Schools and Universities who give them Diploma or Credentials, as something that is not needed for serving God in any capacity. It doesn't matter if you are rank and file member or serving as Ministerial servant or an Elder in JW congregation. On the contrary, "higher education", no matter is it question about religious or secular education, is viewed from most JW congregants, as something that is in opposition to God, His Word - Bible, and in fact it is product of corrupted World which is run by devil.  
      For this and some other reasons, WT publications giving advice to members not to go to University to get "higher education". Instead, they say, it is enough to finish Elementary school or some Higher school to be able to get some job that will provide you basic material status.
      What "flock" need is possible to get, to find through religious educational program provide by WT Society through congregational meetings, courses, some additional  programs for specific groups inside organization (pioneers, elders, missionaries, etc.) One specific instrument for education  is Gilead School.
      JW members and leaders are very proud of fact how God provide them best education through Bible and Organization. And how they not need any Credentials or Diploma to be able to prove how they have sufficient knowledge, expertise and ability for handle with Bible and to educate other people about God. Who need peace of paper as proof you have qualification to work in such spiritual field?
      Jworg web site:
       Application was made to the U.S. government for foreign students to be admitted under non immigration student visa provisions. In response, the U.S. Office of Education gave recognition to Gilead School as offering education comparable to professional colleges and educational institutions. Thus, since 1953, U.S. consuls throughout the world have had the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead on their list of approved educational institutions. As of April 30, 1954, this school appeared in the publication entitled “Educational Institutions Approved by the Attorney General.” - https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101993032#h=131
      WT Society say how "worldly education" is of no worth for future life in Paradise, even more, it is inspired by devil and can corrupt JW young members, WHY this same WT Society had need to be RECOGNIZED by Educational worldly system, about whom they speaking so bad? For JW students who need visa for US to be able to come to Gilead School. This is technical reason. And Gilead School, by this action, found itself on worldly list with all other undesirable institutions who "spiritually corrupting people". 
      Do Gilead School students get some "credentials or diploma" in shape of paper after they successfully finished program? Because they "graduate class".
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      The Supreme Court Rejected a Case About the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Sex Abuse
      By Hemant Mehta October 8, 2019   Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it would not take up a wild case concerning the organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We can breathe a huge sigh of relief that the case won’t be overturned. (In that link, it’s case 19-40 on page 42.)
       
       
      The case, which involved child molestation and religious secrecy, centered around an incident that took place on July 15, 2006.
      J.W., a nine-year-old girl with Jehovah’s Witness parents, was invited to her first slumber party at the home of Gilbert Simental. He had a daughter her age, so that wasn’t too weird. Two other girls (sisters) were also at the party. These families all knew and trusted Simental because, while he was no longer a local Witness leader, he had spent more than a decade as an elder in the faith. He was a religious leader who stepped down, he said, to spend more time with his son. They believed him. They all respected him. It’s why they allowed their girls into his home.
      During that party, everyone got into a pool in the backyard… including Simental. And he proceeded to molest J.W. and the sisters. He did it again later that night. The sisters eventually told their parents, who reported Simental to local Witness elders (which is what they’re taught to do in these situations).
      Simental confessed to some of the allegations, and the elders basically gave him a faith-based slap on the wrist: a reprimand that had no meaning outside church circles.
      Things changed only when the sisters’ school principal learned about what happened and, as required by law, reported the abuse to local law enforcement. Police soon contacted J.W.’s family asking for their story, but after consulting with the Witnesses, her father chose not to speak with the cops.
      It was a year later when J.W., then 10 years old, told her parents what Simental did to her in the pool. It infuriated them, and they told the Witness elders that they wanted a restraining order against him. The elders told him not to do that since it would require informing the police about what Simental did — and they preferred to keep his actions private.
      Here’s the bigger problem: There’s reason to believe the Witnesses were aware that Simental was a child molester… and they kept it from the families. Simental was allowed to be a religious leader — earning respect from the community — even though higher-ups in the religion knew that he shouldn’t be around children.
      It raised an important question: How much blame did the Witnesses deserve for what happened at that pool party?
      J.W.’s family eventually filed a criminal lawsuit against Simental and a separate civil suit against the Watchtower Society (the Witnesses’ governing organization). They basically said the Witnesses should have informed congregation members about Simental and stopped him from being around children. They never should have allowed him to be a religious leader.
      The Watchtower Society’s argument? They didn’t know Simental was a child molester, and the pool party occurred after he was no longer a religious leader, and the slumber party wasn’t a church-sponsored event, so leave them out of this.
      (To be clear, I’m simplifying the details of this case and the legal journey quite a bit.)
      When this case went to trial in California, J.W.’s family demanded that the Watchtower Society produce documents relating to what they knew about child molesters within the faith. The Witnesses had already admitted to keeping lists of problematic leaders along with their specific “crimes” — similar to the Catholic Church. If Simental was on that list — from 1997, nearly a decade before the pool incident — it would essentially be a smoking gun showing the Witnesses knew he was a threat to kids but did nothing about it.
      But the Witnesses refused to hand over that material. They treated it like Catholics treat confession: It’s private information, they argued, and to reveal what was said internally would violate their religious beliefs.
      J.W.’s family didn’t buy that argument. The information they wanted wasn’t bound by clergy-penitent confessional privilege. It’s not like Simental told the elders what he had done in order to confess his sins. He was caught. The Witnesses were merely shielding him from legal punishment.
      In the criminal trial, Witnesses elders were forced to admit their practices and that the private discussions they had about abusive clergy members were not considered confidential under the law.
      Mark O’Donnell, writing at JWSurvey, explained what happened next:
       
        Simental’s appeal got him nowhere. He’s in prison today. But there were still so many questions about what responsibility the Witnesses had in this whole matter.  
      J.W.’s family wanted to know why Simental, a known pedophile, was promoted within the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why did they allow him to be around children? Why didn’t they warn families? Why did they just give him a slap on the wrist?
      In 2013, the civil trial began against the Watchtower Society, but again, the Witnesses didn’t want to provide necessary documents. They eventually lost the case. In 2015, the Riverside Superior Court of California awarded J.W. a judgment of $4,016,152.39. This past December, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in California upheld that decision.
      You get the idea: The Witnesses refused to hand over internal data, presumably because it would’ve been like handing over a loaded gun. So the courts had no choice but to assume the plaintiff was telling the truth and the Watchtower Society was negligent in their handling of Simental.
      Earlier this year, in a Hail Mary attempt to reverse their punishment, the Watchtower Society appealed to the Supreme Court. They wanted the justices to say that documents relating to child abuse within a religious group can be kept confidential.
      Here’s how the Witnesses’ attorney introduced his case to the justices. (You don’t need a law degree to see how he just completely dismissed the molestation.)
      Watchtower attorney Paul Polidoro said the Supreme Court needed to consider whether California violated the Constitution when it held the Jehovah’s Witnesses responsible for what Simental did “during non-church activity,” forced them to hand over internal communications, and punished them for protecting everyone’s “privacy rights.”
      J.W.’s attorney responded to that brief asking the Court to flat-out reject this case.
      Indeed, that’s what the Court decided. When the first set of orders in the new term was released yesterday, there was this case among many many others, in the list of those which would not get heard this term.
       
       
      It was the right move. There’s nothing further to debate here. Finally, this case has been put to rest.
      (Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were published earlier)
         
    • By admin
      Part of a series on: Jehovah's Witnesses
      A number of corporations are in use by Jehovah's Witnesses. They publish literature and perform other operational and administrative functions, representing the interests of the religious organization. "The Society" has been used as a collective term for these corporations.
      The oldest and most prominent of their corporation names, "Watch Tower Society", has also been used synonymously with the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, even in their own literature.[1] Particularly since 2000, Jehovah's Witnesses have maintained a distinction between their corporations and their religious organization.[2][3] About 4300 Jehovah's Witnesses in the USA provide voluntary unpaid labor, as members of a religious order (see logo below) and are part of the Worldwide Order of Special Full-Time Servants of Jehovah's Witnesses
       
      Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
      See Main article: 

      Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is a non-stock, not-for-profit organization[4] headquartered in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, United States. It is the main legal entity used worldwide by Jehovah's Witnesses, often referred to as "The Society". It holds the copyrights of most literature published by Jehovah's Witnesses. The society was founded in 1881 with William Henry Conley, a Pittsburgh businessman, as the first president and Charles Taze Russell as secretary-treasurer.[5] The society was incorporated as Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society in Pennsylvania on December 15, 1884, with Russell as president.[6] The corporation was officially renamed Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1896; similar names had been in unofficial use since at least 1892.[7]
      Personnel (as of September 1, 2005)
      President: Don A. Adams Vice Presidents: Robert W. Wallen, William F. Malenfant Secretary/Treasurer: Richard E. Abrahamson Directors: Danny L. Bland, Philip D. Wilcox, John N. Wischuk Name changes
      Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society (1881–1896) Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (1896–1955) Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (since 1955) See also - Trademarks owned by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
      United States corporations
      Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
      Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (originally called the Peoples Pulpit Association of New York) is a corporation used by Jehovah's Witnesses, which is responsible for administrative matters, such as real estate, especially within the United States. This corporation is typically cited as the publisher of Jehovah's Witnesses publications, though other publishers are sometimes cited. The corporation's stated purposes are: “Charitable, benevolent, scientific, historical, literary and religious purposes; the moral and mental improvement of men and women, the dissemination of Bible truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers and other religious documents, and for religious missionary work.”[8] 
      See also: Watchtower Real Estate News and an example of it's investment portfolio strategy
       
      Selected Personnel (as of April 1, 2012)
      President: Leon Weaver Jr. (Replaced Max H. Larson) Vice Presidents George M. Couch, Lonnie R. Schilling Secretary/Treasurer Gerald F. Simonis Directors Gerald D. Grizzle, David G. Sinclair, Robert M. Pevy
      Originally known as the Peoples Pulpit Association, the organization was incorporated in 1909 when the Society's principal offices moved to Brooklyn, New York. In 1939, it was renamed Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc., and in 1956 the name was changed to Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.[9]Until 2000, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses was president of both the Watch Tower (Pennsylvania) and Watchtower (New York) corporations, as well as Britain's International Bible Students Association corporation; in 2001, it was decided that the corporations' directors need not be members of the Governing Body.[2] In 2001 the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York was listed among the top forty revenue-generating companies in New York City, reporting an annual revenue of about 951 million US dollars.[10]
       
      Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses (Incorporated 2000)
      Coordinates all service (i.e., proselytic) activities, including door-to-door proselytism, circuit and district conventions, etc.
      President William L. Van De Wall Vice Presidents Charles I. Woody, Leon Weaver, Jr. Secretary/Treasurer William H. Nonkes Directors Harold K. Jackson, Merton V. Campbell, Stanley F. Weigel Other US corporations
      Reorganization in 2000 resulted in the creation of several additional corporate entities to serve the needs of the United States branch of Jehovah's Witnesses. Since then, most written communication with congregations and individuals in the United States involves the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, Inc; other corporations include, for example,
      Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses, New York. Incorporated in 2000 to give particular attention to those in special full-time service: Bethel volunteers, missionaries, traveling overseers, special pioneers; and assembly halls. See also their special Vow of Poverty and Obedience.      President Patrick J. LaFranca Vice Presidents Peter D. Molchan, Ralph E. Walls Secretary/Treasurer Joseph D. Mercante Directors Marvin G. Smalley, Kenneth J. Pulcifer, Eugene D. Rosam, Jr.
      Kingdom Support Services, Inc., New York. Incorporated in 2000 to deal with construction of Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls, other engineering needs, and vehicles. President Harold L. Corkern Vice Presidents Alan D. Janzen, Robert L. Butler Secretary/Treasurer Alexander W. Reinmueller Directors James F. Mantz, Jr., Thomas Kalimeris, Alan G. Browning Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Florida President Leonard R. Pearson Vice Presidents Alejandro G. Rodriguez, Maurice C. Turcot Secretary/Treasurer Mark L. Questell Directors Jim Moody, Sr., Anselm J. Packnett, Donald R. Krebs Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New Jersey President Charles V. Molohan Vice Presidents James L. Bauer, J. Richard Brown Secretary/Treasurer Alan K. Flowers Directors Allen E. Shuster, David L. Walker, Vernon C. Wisegarver Valley Farms Corporation (Incorporated 1987) President Charles J. Rice Vice Presidents Kent E. Fischer, Robert L. Rains Secretary/Treasurer Albert L. Harrell Directors John R. Strandberg, Samuel D. Buck, Louis A. Travis LEGAL DEPARTMENT 
      It is assumed this team works on behalf of any of the corporations listed on this page
      Philip Brumley: Coordinator Mario Moreno Gregory Olds Don Ridley Carolyn Wah (Wah is Assistant General Counsel for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. Ms. Wah is an attorney and was admitted to law practice in the State of New York in 1985. She has published numerous papers and given presentations on issues of religious practice, minority religions, mental health and family law.) Charles Creger Joseph Jandrokovic
      Listed as Watchtower attorneys practicing in New York: Attorneys at 100 Watchtower Drive in Patterson, NY 12563:
      Philip Brumley (home address 131 Brimstone Road,[ seriously ? ] Patterson NY 12563 although also given for him in another document was 2891 Route 22, Patterson, NY 12563-2236; New York attorney registry: 2224871);
      Mario F. Moreno (home address 720 Route 292 in Holmes NY 12531),
      Carolyn Wah ,
      Adam Lett , ----- Is this Stephen Letts' son?
      Paul D. Polidoro,
      Donald T. Ridley,
      Robert C. James,
      Richard King,
      John Miller III,
      Richard Moake,
      Erna Neufeld,
      Gregory D. Olds (home address 79 Willow Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 involved with Religious Order of JWs),
      William R. Bell,
      Christine Benham,
      Max Custer,
      Michelle Dickinson,
      Lisa Douglas,
      furthermore: Michelle Dickinson at 27 Hudson Watchtower Drive, Ossining NY 10562;
      further: Christine Benham at 275 Tanner Marsh Road, Guilford Connecticut 06437;
      further, James M. McCabe can be mailed at 4817 Santa Monica Avenue, Suite B, San Diego, California 92017

      Judah Schroeder (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)

      US Websites:
      www.regionalbuildingcommittee.com
      www.circuitvehicles.com
      www.ibsaconvention.org
      www.jw-hawaii.org
      GENERAL NY CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS, SUBSIDARIES, SPECIAL OPERATIONS:
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Buffalo, NY Headquarters
      Mountainbrook Ltd Partnership (dba "Watchtower Educ Ctr") Patterson, NY Headquarters
      Watchtower (dba "Kingdom Farms") Lansing, NY (There are also other Kingdom Farms in Florida and Colorado, but I have not listed them at this time)
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Brooklyn, NY Headquarters
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Watchtower Health Care Sup") Brooklyn, NY Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Construction Division") Brooklyn, NY Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Watchtower Farm") Wallkill, NY Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Bossert Hotel") Brooklyn, NY Branch
      Watchtower Bible And Clergy, The (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Fortuna, CA
      Watchtower Associates Ltd Woodbury, NYWatchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania, PA
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania Brooklyn, NY (Headquarters)
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Trafford, PA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Clinton, IL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Mattituck, NY Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses," "Kingdom Hall Jehovah Witnesses," "Kingdom Hall Inc") Fort Payne, AL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania (dba "Lakeview Congrg Of Jehovahs W") Stanton, MI Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Lake Ariel, PA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Sun City, AZ Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of Pennsylvania Brooklyn, NY Branch
      ADDRESSES OF KEY OPERATIONS: Some of these seem like duplicates, but they "may" represent various operations and subsidiaries, such as printing factories, or shipping operations. Some of them, I do not yet know what their specific purpose is.

      WATCHTOWER, 317 Auburn Rd, Lansing, NY 14882 WATCHTOWER EDUC CTR, 100 WATCHTOWER DR., PATTERSON, NY 12563
      MOUNTAINBROOK LTD PARTNERSHIP, 100 Watchtower Dr., Patterson, NY 12563 (Investment operation of Patterson site, including hotel)
      WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC., 25 COLUMBIA HTS,. BROOKLYN, NY 11201
      WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA, 25 COLUMBUS HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN, NY 11201
      WATCHTOWER ASSOCIATES LTD, 147 HOLIDAY DR, WOODBURY, NY 11797
      WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY THE, 121 N WILLOW ST, ONEIDA, NY 13421
      WATCH TOWER SOCIETY, 1971 STRAUSS ST., BROOKLYN, NY 11212 (1971 BUSINESS COMMITTEE OF JEHOVAH WITNESSES)
      WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK INC, 800 RED MILLS RD., WALLKILL, NY 12589
      WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC., 86 MONTAGUE ST # 98, BROOKLYN, NY 11201
      WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC., 117 ADAMS ST, BROOKLYN, NY 11201 (Branch Location)
      WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA, 5550 BERGEN AVE., MATTITUCK, NY 11952 (Branch Location)
      WATCHTOWER BIBLE, 16100 RIV AVE, BRONX, NY 10451
      {FORMERLY} WATCHTOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY INC), W RIVER RD N ROUTE 85, FULTON, NY 13069
      WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, FOOTS CORNERS RD & ROUTE 96, INTERLAKEN, NY 14847(Headquarters location)
      WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, 4208 NATIONAL ST, FLUSHING, NY 11368GENERAL PA CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS, BRANCHES, & SUBSIDARIES:

      STATE BRANCHES or SPECIAL OPERATIONS IN STATES:
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Brooklyn, NY Branch
      Jehovah's Witnesses Crown Point (Inc) (dba "Watchtower Society") Crown Point, IN
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Emmett, ID Branch
      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
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Fort Myers, FL Branch
      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
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Knoxville, TN Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Crystal Lake, IL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Watchtower Bible And Track") Tijeras, NM Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Memphis, TN Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses," "Jehovah S Witnesses") Honolulu, HI Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Anchorage, AK Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Portland, OR Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Cleveland, OH Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Saraland, AL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs
      Witnesses," "Jehovah S Witnesses") Reedley, CA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Austell, GA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Conyers, GA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Sandusky, OH Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovah Witnesses East") De Leon Springs, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Yerington, NV Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") San Antonio, TX Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovah Witnesses") Denver, CO Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses Sandusky") Sandusky, MI Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") San Antonio, TX Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Vancouver, WA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Dowagiac, MI Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Brookville, PA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc Boynton Beach, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible And Trackt Society (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses Bandera Soc") Bandera, TX
      Watchtower Bible And Tract Society Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Springfield, MA
      Watchtower Bible Society Of Pa (Inc) (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses Hillsboro") Hillsboro, TX
      Watchtower Bible Trac Society (Inc) (dba "Jehovahs Wtnesses Kingdom Hall") Kent, OH
      Watchtower Bible Tract Of Pennsalvania (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Pottsville, PA
      Watchtower Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") San Jose, CA
      Watchtower Society (Inc), The (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses") Plano, TX
      Wheaton Congrg Of Jehovah Inc (dba "Watchtower Bible And Track Soc") Wheaton, MN

      SPECIAL OPERATIONS BRANCHES USING KINGDOM HALLS:
      Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall (dba "Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc") Metuchen, NJ
      Watchtower Society (dba "Kingdom Hall," "Jehovah's Witnesses") Phoenix, AZ
      Kingdom Hall Of Jehovah's Witnesses (dba "Watchtower The," "Jehovah's Witnesses") BELFAIR, WA
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (dba "Jehovahs Wtnesses Kingdom Hall") Laurel, MD
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses," "Jehovah's Witnesses") Lompoc, CA
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses Kingdom Hall") Yukon, OK Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jehovahs Witness") Mc Cormick, SC Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Cortez Cngrgtion Jhvah Wttness") Cortez, CO Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Of Jehovahs") Woodward, OK
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Levelland, TX Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witnesses-Folsom") El Dorado Hills, CA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jehovahs Witness," "Kingdom Hall Jehovah S Witness") Wauchula, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Witness Kingdom Hall") Durango, CO Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Elk Rapids Congrtn Jehova") Kewadin, MI Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Columbus Cngrgtn Jehovahs") Lynn, NC Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Wtness S Congregation") Live Oak, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Congregation Of Jenovahs") Lake Wales, FL Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Winterpock Congregation") Chesterfield, VA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Of Jhvahs Wtness") Lindsay, CA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Of Jhvahs Wtness") Minneapolis, MN Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Of Jehovahs," "Kingdom Hall Of Jehovah S") Gallup, NM Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall," "Jehovah's Witnesses") Palestine, TX Branch
      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
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jhovahs Witnesses") Norfolk, VA Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Kingdom Hall Jehovah Witness") Atoka, OK Branch
      Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Of New York Inc (dba "Jehovahs Wtnesses Kingdom Hall") Orlando, FL Branch
      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


      Watchtower Society, New York acquires QCSTelecom Inc
       
      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
      Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Ireland

       
      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 Associação Torre de Vigia de Bíblias e Tratados Iglesia Cristiana de los Testigos de Jehová - (Colombia) Testigos Cristianos de Jehova - (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: 02 98295600 Jah-Jireh Charity Homes - suspected connection Jah-Jireh Homes of America Świadkowie Jehowy w Polsce Watch Tower Bible And Tract Society Of The Philippines Administrative Centre of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia (Can someone write this in Russian here? Thank you.) Address: 186 rosevelt ave., sfdm, quezon city 1100, Tel: 24116090 The European Association of Jehovah's Christian Witnesses Association religieuse des Témoins de Jéhovah du Bénin Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Canada
      In some countries, Jehovah's Witnesses use the corporation name Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, or a similar name translated into the local language. In 2005, the branch office in Canada began using this name for a separate Canadian entity for most correspondence, while retaining Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada for other matters. Literature of Jehovah's Witnesses has also referred to the religion generally as the "Christian congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses".[22][23][24]
       
      Corporations used for International Conventions
      Detroit International Hospitality Committee. (Possibly a PR firm hired by WTBTS)
       
      Defunct Corporations
      Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Lünen-Magdeburg of the new-apostolic sect - Prussia - Dissolved 1933
      Jehovah's Kingdom Corporation

      Watch Tower Society of Cuba
       
      Associations / Splinter Groups
      Association of Jonadab Class 
       
      References
      ^ Such as in their book Worldwide Security Under the “Prince of Peace” (OCLC 15485620), ©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 ^ "Pennsylvania Department of State". Corporations.state.pa.us. Retrieved 2012-12-31. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses: Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (Watchtower, 1993), p. 576. ^ J. Rutherford, //A Great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens,// 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 ^ "Newsday.com article". 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 ^ NYS Dept of State, Division of Corporations, site retrieved March 23, 2009 ^ "Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, site retrieved March 23, 2009". 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:
      Bethel Personnel Assignments (2000)
      LDC Seminar from November 2014
       
    • By The Librarian
      Three years 23,000 volunteers Prayers, sweat and Holy Spirit The world headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses has been built in a beautiful setting in Warwick, New York. Are you looking forward to visiting?
    • By Witness
      The person who made this short quip was never a JW, although he is able to perceive the contradiction of teachings by the governing body.  
      Can you perceive the confusion?  (meaning of "Babylon")
       
    • 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: https://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/hitler-nazi.php
       
       
       
    • 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.i 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 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. - https://www.jw.org/ase/publications/books/bible-study/respect-gods-gift-of-life-blood/
       
      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!”+ 
      8  O daughter of Babylon, who is soon to be devastated,+Happy will be the one who rewards you With the treatment you inflicted on us.+
      9  Happy will be the one who seizes your children And dashes them against the rocks.+ -  https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/psalms/137/
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Outta Here
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45815889
      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: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2013530
       
      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: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012324#h=10
      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.” (John 15:19; 17:14) 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.”—Jeremiah 10:23.
      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!—Psalm 146:3. source: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012323#h=1
      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: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2016288#h=36
      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: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102004202#h=28
       
      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.” (1 Cor. 7:14) 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 1 Corinthians 7:16; 1 Pet. 3:1, 2. source: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/watchtower-study-december-2018/honor-what-god-has-yoked-together/
      What would Serena say about this? Here are 2 links.
       
       
      https://www.allstatenewsroom.com/news/allstate-foundation-purple-purse-and-serena-williams-launch-national-street-art-campaign-to-make-domestic-violence-and-financial-abuse-visible/
    • 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: https://mundo.sputniknews.com/religion/201808221081407393-testigos-jehova-rusos-piden-asilo-en-finlandia/
    • 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.
      https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/28/russia-sweeping-arrests-jehovahs-witnesses

      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
    • 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)
      http://www.euronews.com/2018/06/21/stop-prosecuting-jehovahs-witnesses-in-russia-kremlin-advisers
    • 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: http://www.newsweek.com/wives-jehovahs-witnesses-jailed-russia-send-letter-putin-adviser-begging-end-965516
    • 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.
      https://meduza.io/en/news/2018/05/29/alexey-navalny-s-campaign-coordinator-in-chelyabinsk-is-reportedly-caught-with-illegal-religious-literature
    • 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: http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2381
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