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Full coverageCourt Confirms Decision to Ban Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, Here's Why
Sputnik International Jul 18, 2017
Russia Supreme Court upholds ban on Jehovah's Witnesses
JURIST Jul 18, 2017
Russian court confirms Jehovah's Witnesses ban
Yahoo News UK Jul 18, 2017
From RussiaRussian Supreme Court Rejects Jehovah's Witnesses Appeal
The Moscow Times Jul 18, 2017
More ArticlesJehovah's Witnesses ban comes into force in Russia after Supreme Court dismisses appeal
The Independent Jul 18, 2017
EU Urges Russia to Ensure Jehovah's Witnesses Freedom of Assembly Amid Ban
Sputnik International Jul 18, 2017
EU insists on right of Jehovah's Witnesses to be entitled to freedom of assembly
Kyiv Post Jul 18, 2017
Jehovah's Witnesses vow to appeal Russia ban in European court
Times LIVE Jul 18, 2017
EU Criticizes Russia Over Jehovah's Witnesses Ban
Voice of America Jul 18, 2017
Blow to religious freedom as Jehovah's Witnesses banned in Russia
The Calvert Journal Jul 18, 2017
Russian Appeals Court Bans Jehovah's Witnesses
OZY Jul 18, 2017
Jehovah's Witnesses Ban Appeal Rejected by Russia's Supreme Court, Allowing Government to Seize Worship Halls
Newsweek Jul 17, 2017
Russia upholds its ban on 'extremist' Jehovah's Witnesses – but the group vows to fight on
International Business Times UK Jul 18, 2017
Jehovah's Witnesses Vow to Fight Back After Russia Gives Group Same 'Extremist' Status as ISIS
Gospel Herald Jul 18, 2017
Russia Jehovah's Witnesses banned after they lose appeal
BBC News Jul 17, 2017
Jehovah's Witnesses Remain Banned as Russia Rejects Appeal
ChristianityToday.com Jul 17, 2017
Russia Orders Disbanding of Jehovah's Witnesses
Newser Jul 18, 2017
Russia's Supreme Court stands by its nationwide ban on Jehovah's Witnesses
Globalnews.ca Jul 17, 2017
Russian Supreme Court Upholds Ruling Banning Jehovah's Witnesses
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty Jul 17, 2017
Russian Supreme Court Upholds Jehovah's Witness Ban
Washington Free Beacon Jul 17, 2017
Jehovah's Witness vows to appeal its ban
Daily Post Nigeria Jul 18, 2017
Russian Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Jehovah's Witnesses
Voice of America Jul 17, 2017
Russia Ban: Jehovah's Witnesses Take Case To European Court
The Whistler Jul 18, 2017
Russia's Supreme Court Upholds Outlawing of Jehovah's Witnesses as 'Extremist Organization'
Intelligencer Post Jul 18, 2017
Jehovah's Witnesses Ban Appeal Rejected by Russia's Supreme
Leicester Post Jul 18, 2017
EU's diplomatic service stands up for rights of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russian Federation
Normangee Star Jul 18, 2017
Supreme Court Upholds Ruling That Bans Jehovah's Witnesses In Russia | Religious Body Heads To European Court
360Nobs.com Jul 18, 2017
Rabid Christian Evangelical Group Jehovah's Witnesses Banned In Russia
Swarajya Jul 18, 2017
European Union criticizes Russian Federation over Jehovah's Witnesses ban
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Full coverageCourt Confirms Decision to Ban Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, Here's Why Sputnik International Jul 18, 2017  Russia Supreme Court upholds ban on Jehovah's Witnesses

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Sister says she can't buy groceries in all stores in her town. "We don't serve extremists"

July 17, 2017, 04:31

Jehovah's Witnesses pressure on members of the communities in the south of Russia sharply increased

 

After the Supreme Court decision on the Elimination of how extremist religious organizations 396 Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia surveyed by the "Caucasian Knot" believers from regions south of Russia complained about unlawful searches, turn off the gas, persecution of children, loss of employment and the deterioration of relations with fellow countrymen. They fear that in case of the appeal decision will be taken against them, will increase the pressure on the representatives of the communities.

As he wrote, " Caucasian Knot ", April 20 the Russian Supreme Court satisfied the requirements of the Ministry of Justice on the Elimination of how extremist religious organizations 396 Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, including their Administrative Center in St. Petersburg. The property of these organizations, the court decided to confiscate to the state. Jehovah's Witnesses are  called the verdict biased court . April 24 Zamoskvoretskiy Moscow district court found that the Ministry of Justice decided to suspend the activity in the Russian Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses  is legal .

Jehovah's Witnesses, on its own data company, registered and conduct religious activities in 240 countries around the world. The total number of Jehovah's Witnesses in the world is 8.3 million people, including about 170,000 in Russia. In the south of Russia, as of March 30, 2017, it operated 107 local religious organization of Jehovah's witnesses - 74 in the Southern Federal District and 33 in the North Caucasian Federal District, according to a prepared by the "Caucasian Knot" Help " Jehovah's Witnesses - the extremists or the victim of lawlessness? ".

Jaroslav Sivulskii: "We hope that the appeal will help undo the unfair, in our opinion, the decision of the SC"

 

As reported by the "Caucasian Knot" a representative of the Administrative Center Jaroslav Sivulskii decision Amphibious affected 175 thousand followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, because the stroke of a pen were liquidated all 396 registered organizations in Russia, and their activities are prohibited.

"The court also decided to confiscate the property of all these religious organizations. As a result, in addition to complaints from the Administrative Center of the decision, were submitted for a total of hundreds of appeals from the remaining 395 liquidated the local religious organization of Jehovah, and from hundreds of witnesses to individuals whose rights have been directly affected by the court decision we very much hope that the appeal will help undo the unfair, in our opinion, the decision of the SC, "-. he explained.

Sivulskii said that supporters of Jehovah's Witnesses met with the head of the Human Rights Council and the development of civil society under the Russian President Mihailom Fedotovym.

"He was very concerned about what is happening in Russia after the court decision with the rights of Jehovah's Witnesses, he recommended that all cases of flagrant violations goes to his advice." - he said.

According Sivulskii, against the background of the trial against Jehovah's Witnesses, and after the decision of the North Caucasus and southern Russia occurred and are occurring violations of the rights of believers, and the evidence is present in the HRC.

"We recorded from March to June of about 27 violations considerable number of them took place in Stavropol and Krasnodar Territories There are also reports of incidents in the North Caucasus republics, Rostov and Astrakhan regions.." - he said.

In particular, he said, there were cases when the religious movement supporters fired from their jobs or denied to them in a contract extension.

"For example, in Kabardino-Balkaria, two officers from among the faithful of Jehovah's Witnesses who worked at the local branch of the Federal Tax Service. May 15 in the Krasnodar Territory in Novokubansk believer from among Jehovah's Witness forced to resign from the kindergarten were dismissed in Nalchik on May 11 where she worked as a nurse and had no complaints at work. the head of the preschool institution to dismiss said that since she is a Jehovah's witness, and the organization is recognized as "extremist", so it may not work in this institution ", - he told Sivulskii.

In addition, there are cases of property damage to organizations and individual believers.

"On May 26 villages Nezlobnaya, Lysogorskaya and Podgorski Stavropol Territory in the building, which previously held worship came gas service, accompanied by the police and by going to the territory, cut off the gas pipeline. The believers asked the" Georgievskmezhraygaz "to find out the reasons. There, they explained, that the gas cut off because of the fact that the believers -. "extremists" had no debt at the time of tripping on the same day in the village of Kursk in the territory of the liturgical building was made cutting gas pipe representatives of the local gas. second service. It became known from a woman who lives next door. She came home to the believer and said that cut off gas and an excavator digging a hole. When a believer approached, the work was almost complete. When the believer car gas service once gone, there was only one excavator. When asked on what basis they did it, he replied that he had heard, it was an order from the ministry "cut all you gas as you are extremists." Faithful received no notification of the local service control gas that is produced by cutting the gas pipe. On that day the believers to "Raygazom" had no debt, "- said Sivulskii.

In the Stavropol region in May and June are also frequent visits by the police, sometimes together with the FSB, in the house of Jehovah Witness adherents.

"In Neftekumsk came to the mother of one of the faithful, where it has been registered, recorded personal data of relatives and the believer. Noted mother believer as" contacting "the person. The daughter of another follower of the Jehovah's Witnesses wanted to get the Secretary to the police, she was called, was asked about his mother, like whether she and other family members that she was a Jehovah's witness, whether or not for her fear. in addition, the place where the services were held earlier, the police came and the FSB. The village Essentukskaya one of the faithful called the employee about the kuratury and asked for permission to meet with her at home Cause -. verification of the information received by him from the police ", - said Sivulskii.

According to him, the police wanted to know, is it really a woman is a Jehovah's Witness. She said firmly that "is and will be a witness to the end of his days." Then, according to Sivulskii, police asked her if she was going with someone to meet and where, as a son and daughter in law told the police earlier that the meetings are held at her home.

"A believer confidently answered that nowhere with no one is going. At the same time she noticed that for 26 years the Jehovah's Witnesses were the legitimate organization. Prosecutors in this case referred to the Supreme Court decision of 20 April 2017, at which a believer replied that this decision has not yet entered into force, as under appeal, which will be considered on July 17, "- he told Sivulskii.

He also informed about the searches of the believers. In particular, in the house of a believer in the village of Liman Astrakhan region was searched on 10 June.

"My wife and child at the time were on a walk and came later discovered that the home search is conducted. The police presented a warrant regulations on home search. The warrant was pointed out that the cafe" Victoria "Astrakhan region was stolen phone, and supposedly he is in the house of a believer, who plans to sell it. They asked a believer, whether he talked to anyone about this phone, on the phone or something else in another way. the believer has denied this information. During the search he found a personal religious literature. All found there teratura not in the list of prohibited materials ... The believers began to object, but ignored the objections, the police said that Jehovah's Witnesses are banned in Russia and they should withdraw the literature. They also questioned the faithful about the meetings that took place in them. The believers did not know, that the police should not have done that, and had to seek only what is stated in the decree in addition, the police did not provide copies of the perfect search "-. Sivulskii said.

Jehovah's Witnesses in Dagestan fear pressure from the security forces

In Derbent community representatives do not feel any pressure from the security forces, he told the "Caucasian Knot" representative of the Jehovah's Witnesses community of Derbent Michael .

"At the moment we have no problems with the security forces, members of other communities, we also heard that there is someone detained," - said the representative of the community.

However, according to the believer, if the court July 17 decides not in favor of Jehovah's Witnesses, that "by the security forces pressure on the faithful efforts." "It is unlikely that this pressure will be massive, most likely, will be made of a single action, aimed at those responsible in the community", - said the representative of Derbent community of Jehovah's Witnesses.

However, he noted that "the community understands that the court's decision on July 17 will not be in favor of the faithful." "Aerie no expectations tendency such that the solution is not in our favor." - he said.

The representative of Makhachkala community Andrew believes that "the more likely the court's decision is not in favor of the faithful." As a result, the court's decision "will trigger increased pressure on members of the community," remarked Andrew.

According to him, after the decision of the court "may start the race for the statistics, and security forces are chasing the simple believers."

Krasnodar Territory: children do not give a pass to the school and on the street

Sochi representative of Jehovah's Witnesses Constantine Eltavsky told the "Caucasian Knot" that all his fellow very much hope that the Appeals Chamber of the Supreme Court to protect their constitutional right to worship.

"We stopped to meet in the halls of worship Of course, none of Jehovah's Witnesses have not ceased to believe, but we began to meet in a different way, at home with our friends, co-religionists also we speak of God, to strengthen each other by means of the Bible..", - he noted Eltavsky.

According to him, "Kingdom Hall" in the Adler district now stands closed, the meeting is not held there, although access to it is open to believers.

"Rooms are decorated in the individual and are not owned by local religious organizations, but we still stopped there to meet for the sake of safety, we respect the law, even if this law infringes on our rights..", - said Eltavsky.

He noted that his fellow reported persecution after the court decision, which suspended the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses, people's attitudes towards them changed. In some regions of Russia in the halls of the windows were broken for worship, and the walls are painted obscene words, there were attempts to arson of private homes of his co-religionists.

"People have started to consider us as people who have a different faith, but as it is presented in the media -. This was how the extremists influence the attitude towards our children in school," - says a believer. Now the situation has changed dramatically, according to a man, the children are forced to participate in the festivities, which Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate.

"Previously respected our opinions now the attitude of teachers, school administration was negative, our children began to be perceived as extremists children." - says Eltavsky.

At the same time in Sochi related to the Jehovah's Witnesses are much more loyal, he said.

"We have about 2 thousand faithful only attended the meeting. Many have family members of Jehovah's Witnesses, friends. We in Sochi people know who are Jehovah's Witnesses, they do not believe what they say about us. Many people are surprised that we have recognized the extremists" - the man says.

According to him, refused military enlistment offices of Jehovah's Witnesses in alternative civilian service, although I have always gone forward, as this constitutional right is given to every citizen of Russia.

Believer of Mosty district Svetlana Raikin told the "Caucasian Knot", which was forced to leave his village because of attacks countrymen.

"To us in the past as a treat rogue, because we did not drink, did not smoke, did not matter, and then the court of the window began to strike at night will climb into the chicken coop, all chickens peredushat, children walk down the street is impossible, name-calling." - says the woman . According to her, she repeatedly wrote to the police statement, but no checks on her appeal was not, and then she stopped at the store to sell products.

"We're a small village, a few shops, no matter where you come, being driven everywhere:" Extremists do not serve - the woman says! "It's all ok We stopped to sleep at night I have no husband, I have three children.?.".

Svetlana was forced to leave his home, pick up all the necessary things and move to another area.

"The house does not sell, it is worth a penny, went to distant relatives, nobody will say more, I believe that only in faith Let my heart be.", - said the woman.

She hopes for a fair judgment of the Supreme Court.

"I'm not the only one; we communicate with our fellow believers, everywhere in the Kuban they just do not give a pass," - says a believer.

In the Caucasus region police check believers in the community, he told the "Caucasian Knot" a member of Jehovah's Witnesses , Nikolai . He noted that his fellow believers fear now walk to each other's homes. Worship canceled.

Nicholas said -, ".. Of course, there are, say Brochures emissions, and the Bible can not they say that next time will attract for the dissemination of extremist literature came to me from the police, asking if I had any religious literature.".

According to him, all the arguments that the organization has not yet banned but only suspended its activities in Russia, do not act on the police.

"We have already a stigma - extremists People stopped to greet colleagues turn away what we did, it is not clear.." - the man says.

According to him, it is especially difficult for children who do not give a pass to the school and on the street.

"And pushing and kicking, and in social networks write nasty things I'm going to deal, hands teacher bred, they say, and what you want, you're extremists We all my life more than anyone in the village to work, all respected and there you are.." - the man says.

He also hopes that the Supreme Court will restore the rights of his co-religionists.

Volgograd region: the faithful no longer meet in the premises of the Jehovah's Witnesses

"To say that there have been serious incidents, prematurely, but there were some moments when the challenges of local residents came to the police to check the documents and see what's going on", - he told the "Caucasian Knot" Elder of the local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses , Konstantin Sedov .

According to him, citizens who react so maybe heard about the Supreme Court decision.

"The police came, examined the documents and looked to see if any underground activities, and that all came to an end. As far as I know, similar phenomena were Traktorozavodskoy and Krasnooktyabrsky areas. Serious incidents, when it was instituted administrative or criminal case in our area I have not heard. With regard to the forthcoming court of Appeal, we are all anxiously waiting and hoping for the best. we would like the court took into account many of the arguments and motions, which during the first examination were not received . Yaty into consideration We hope that this time our opinions will be heard "- said Sedov.

He said that believers no longer meet in the premises of the Jehovah's Witnesses after the court decision. According to him, there is evidence that in some places, where they continued to meet the believers, came the police, and even opened a criminal case.

"As the country begins a wave of inspections for the purpose of institution of criminal or administrative cases on the mission and activities of extremist We do not want to create additional risks ... But to believe in God no one forbids us, we are going in small groups.", - said Sedov.

"We are preparing for the withdrawal halls pending appeal the Ministry of Justice has sent us a paper that we are not an organization It is said that the local organization liquidated by court decision we terminate the contract for light, gas and water...", - told the "Caucasian Knot" head of the organization of Jehovah's witnesses Traktorozavodskiy district of Volgograd Roman Svateev .

"Deny believe no one can, as well as breathe we hope will make an informed decision, we hope for common sense." - he said.

Department of Justice Office of the Volgograd region ordered an end to the activities of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses Traktorozavodskiy Volgograd region on 20 April.

Recall that the Ministry of Justice in its lawsuit referred to the decisions concerning the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, where literature was found, recognized as extremist. The representative of the Ministry of Justice told the court that after the dissolution of the organization, law enforcement agencies will be able  to initiate criminal proceedings against the believers of this denomination  under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code (organization of an extremist organization) ", provides for a fine of 300 to 800 thousand rubles and imprisonment from two to 12 years.

Jehovah's Witnesses the right to freedom of conscience  will be regularly and massively violated in Russia  after the liquidation of the local religious organizations, police and prosecutors will not go into legal details when evaluating the practice of believers forecast polled by the "Caucasian Knot" by lawyers and human rights activists. Security officials received a carte blanche for the prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses, noted jurists.

Materials about the events connected with the claim of Justice on the Elimination of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, the "Caucasian Knot" has published a thematic page " The Ministry of Justice against the Jehovah's Witnesses ."

source: the "Caucasian Knot"Источник: https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/306172/© Кавказский Узел

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July 18, 2017, 10:25

Jehovah's Witnesses - the extremists or the victim of lawlessness?

 

April 20, 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia declared Jehovah's Witnesses extremist organization and banned its activities. The Court decided to liquidate  the Administrative Center "Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" and 395 local organizations, as well as to confiscate their property. Representatives of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses and lawyers said on bias of the Supreme Court and the intention to appeal against the decision 1 . Despite the appeal 2 , in July 2017 the Supreme Court upheld the decision to liquidate the organization "Jehovah's Witnesses" 3 .

After the ban against believers  may initiate criminal proceedings  for violations of anti-extremist legislation. 

Even before the requirements Ministry of Justice to suspend the activities of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses religious communities in the Southern and North Caucasus Federal District have been repeatedly fined for the use of literature, and later entered in the  Federal List of Extremist Materials . In eruyuschie  stated  on frequent occasions planted deemed extremist printed materials in the divine service of the building. Russian human rights activists said that the persecution  has reached unprecedented proportions 

The accusations of Jehovah's Witnesses? 

Alexander Verkhovsky, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights (HRC) and the head of the center "Sova", specializing in issues of nationalism and extremism, and notes that the arguments on extremism Jehovah's Witnesses are based on the allegations in the statement of the superiority of their religion over other 4 .

April 6 at a meeting of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Russian Federation representative really said that Jehovah's Witnesses insist on exclusiveness, which is subject to the law "On Countering Extremist Activity" 5 . Also agency representative said: "In particular, the doctrinal literature organization forbids blood transfusions sick members of the organization on doctor's advice."

For a ban on Jehovah's Witnesses spoke of religion Roman Silantyev, member of the expert of the Ministry of Justice Council of the Russian Federation: "I believe that the" Jehovah's Witnesses "long ago should be banned for violations of Russian law - he said -." Jehovah's Witnesses "is not only forbid their followers to serve in the army but also to participate in elections, to hold public office if a religious organization prevents citizens to fulfill their civic duties and rights -. it clearly violates Russian legislative elstvo. But "Jehovah's Witnesses" is still banned blood transfusion " 6 .  

The press service of the Jehovah's Witnesses said that the organization "has nothing to do with extremism":. "The extremism of the" Jehovah's Witnesses "- is misleading, repeated a hundred times, but did not become of this truth of the Russian authorities for over 60 years is well known that we as far removed from extremism, as heaven is from earth. Our faithful sat in prison, and even went to the shooting, but would not take up arms to people for any kind of ideals is not happening " 7 .

With regard to the refusal of a blood transfusion, it is explained to the "Caucasian Knot" representative of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, Grigory Martynov, "a ban on the use of blood found in the Bible, and with respect for Jehovah's Witnesses refer to the biblical commandments." "However, the rejection of the donor blood  does not mean the abandonment of treatment and saving lives , not just stressed representatives of the medical community. Jehovah's Witnesses view life as God's gift, so try to take care of their health by resorting to modern and safe methods of treatment, which include blood transfusions not true ", - he said Martynov 8 .

"Jehovah's Witnesses" are persecuted not only in Russia. Between the two world wars, in particular, for their refusal to perform military service, "Jehovah's Witnesses" were deported to concentration camps in Nazi Germany, was the link to the camps in Canada 9 . In the USSR, members of the organization were subjected to deportation ( "Operation North" in 1951) 10 . Currently, the activities of "Jehovah's Witnesses" is limited or completely banned in China, Singapore, Vietnam, Cuba, in several Muslim countries. Critics accused her organization generally in opposition to the state and social institutions, the rejection of military service and blood transfusions. 

Members of Jehovah's Witnesses is also accused of trying to cover up the crimes of sexual violence against children 11 , although the organization and made any official statements that "does not encourage and does not cover acts of child molesters" 12 

Statements about the inadmissibility of persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses

Statements against the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, particularly in the article on extremism expressed by the Human Rights Commissioner in the Russian Federation 13 , the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 14 and the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations 15 . In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights  ruled in favor of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia  in the case of liquidation of the community of believers in Moscow in March 2004. 

Question Jehovah's Witnesses refusal of blood transfusions arose at the level of the highest international courts. Hearing on the subject and went to the ECHR. In particular, June 10, 2010 in the case of "religious community" Jehovah's Witnesses "in Moscow and others against the Russian Federation," the European Court concluded that the refusal of blood transfusion can not be compared with an attempt of suicide or murder. "If we understand the decisions of national courts to imply equality between the refusal of blood transfusions and suicide, this analogy is, in the opinion of the Court, does not apply, because the situation in which the patient seeks to hasten death by cessation of treatment, different from the one in which patients such as the Jehovah's witnesses as "simply choose the method of treatment, but still want to recover, and do not refuse treatment in general," - said in the ruling of the European Court.

Consistency accusations of conscientious objection to military service is also in doubt in the modern Russian context. Indeed, legislation of Russia suggests the possibility of an alternative civilian service for those who for religious reasons can not take up arms. 

Outrage at the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia expressed Alekseeva Lyudmila Mihaylovna, chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group. "Extremism of Jehovah's Witnesses is reflected in the fact that they regard their faith as true. But, forgive me, a believer does not consider his belief in the truth?" - he said Alekseev 16 .

In the publications of Jehovah's Witnesses, the definition of "exclusivity" is not given in respect of their own beliefs, but repeatedly expressed approval of the truth of their faith. "Jehovah's Witnesses are convinced to have found the true religion, otherwise they would not have practiced this faith ... However, they believe that they do not have the right to decide who is saved and who is not." - said, in particular, in the periodical " Watchtower "of November 1, 2008. Similar ideas are expressed and banned publications, for example, in the brochure "Jehovah's Witnesses Who Are They? What Do They Believe?", Recognized as extremist.

Mikhail Roshchin, senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Volga-Ural region of the Institute of Oriental Studies, in an interview to the "Caucasian Knot"  has declared that the prohibition of the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses because of their belief in the truth of their faith is questionable, since the submission of the exclusiveness of its own doctrine there are other exercises. "This is normal, the underlying position for monotheistic religions," - said Roshchin.

Jehovah's Witnesses the right to freedom of conscience will be regularly and massively violated in Russia after the liquidation of the local religious organizations, police and prosecutors will not go into legal details when evaluating the practice of believers forecast polled by the "Caucasian Knot" lawyers and human rights 17 

Law enforcement practice in Russia now is that the negative consequences of the Supreme Court decision will come for all who profess the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, said lawyer Anna Stavitskaya 18 .

Also, according to  the director of the program on counteraction to fabricate cases of Islamic extremism of the Human Rights Center "Memorial" Vitaly Ponomarev, it is likely that the Jehovah's Witnesses will now initiate criminal proceedings related to both attempts believers to make any collective action, including meetings , discussion and reading of literature and spread their faith 19 .

Jehovah's Witnesses operate as a registered organization in 240 countries around the world. According to its own data company, the total number of Jehovah's Witnesses is 8.3 million people in the world 20 . Approximate number in Russia - 100-300 thousand people 21. 

Jehovah's Witnesses in southern Russia 

In the south of Russia as of March 30, 2017 operated 107 local religious organization of Jehovah's witnesses - 74 in the Southern Federal District and 33 in the North Caucasus Federal District. In the Krasnodar region - 39 local organizations in the Rostov region - 13, in the Volgograd region - 14, in Adygeya - 7, in the Astrakhan region - one in Kalmykia -  an organization banned by the court . In the Stavropol region - 22 local organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Kabardino-Balkaria - 5, in Dagestan, North Ossetia and Karachay-Cherkessia - two in Ingushetia and Chechnya, there are no such 22 .

After the entry into force of the decision of the Supreme Court of  Jehovah's Witnesses in southern Russia are preparing for mass persecution and talk about to terminate the lease of buildings for worship, bringing to administrative responsibility for missionary activity 23 .

Representatives of one of the Dagestani community of Jehovah's Witnesses reported that the landlord has terminated the contract with them rent the room that was used as a place for community meetings in Derbent 24 

Jehovah's Witnesses from Kabardino-Balkaria intend to fulfill the court's decision. The correspondent of the "Caucasian Knot" said the elder of Jehovah's Witnesses meeting Nikolai Prokhladnensky Zhiryakov 25 .

After the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia at the suit of the Ministry of Justice in the village Egorlykskaya Rostov Region Administrative article of the Administrative Code, four Jehovah's Witnesses involved. 

Jehovah's Witnesses from Volgograd ready "embedded in the circumstances": 

"We have some hope remain, although I understand that the appeal proceedings are resolved almost always the same as the basic'll have to get used to living a little in other circumstances, we expect the re-examination of the case in the Court of Appeal..", - told the "Caucasian Knot" Konstantin Sedov 26 

notes

  1. Jehovah's Witnesses are called the verdict of the Supreme Court biased // Caucasian Knot, 20/4/2017.  
  2. "God is just another did not finish." 4 days prior to the ban, "Jehovah's Witnesses" in Russia // Novaya Gazeta, 14.07.2017.  
  3. The Supreme Court rejected the Jehovah's Witnesses. They are preparing a complaint to the European Court // Official site of "Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia", 17/07/2017.  
  4. In Russia want to ban the sect "Jehovah's Witnesses" // News, 4/15/2016.  
  5. Ministry of Justice: "Jehovah's Witnesses" violating the law on combating extremism // TASS, 04.06.2017.  
  6. In Russia want to ban the sect "Jehovah's Witnesses" // News, 4/15/2017.  
  7. In Russia want to ban the sect "Jehovah's Witnesses" // News, 4/15/2017.  
  8. The prosecutor's office of Kabardino-Balkaria, intervened in the issue of treatment of a newborn baby in the community "Jehovah's Witnesses" // Caucasian Knot, 01.11.2012.  
  9. Witnesses Seek Apology for Wartime Persecution // The Globe in Mail, 09.09.2004.  
  10. Glades PM Not on their own ...: History and geography of forced migrations in the USSR. M., 2001. S. 143.  
  11. Jehovah's Witnesses Told to Pay in Abuse Case // The New York Times, 17.06.2012; Jehovah's Witnesses under pressure over handling of sexual abuse claims // The Guardian, 12.08.2016.  
  12. Media statement / Jehowah Witnesses. 15.10.2007.  
  13. The report of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation in 2013.  
  14. PACE Resolution 2012. 1896.  
  15. Concluding observations of the seventh periodic report of the Russian Federation // United Nations Human Rights Committee. 2015.  
  16. Lyudmila Alekseeva, "not just a mistake, and I believe crime" // Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 03/24/2017.  
  17. The lawyers called the cunning of Justice statement on religious freedom in the Jehovah's Witnesses // Caucasian Knot, 23/4/2017.  
  18. Ibid.  
  19. Ibid.  
  20. 2017 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 2017.  
  21. In Russia want to ban the sect "Jehovah's Witnesses" // News, 4/15/2017; Protection of Jehovah's Witnesses spoke about the planted evidence and accused the Ministry of Justice of double standards // Caucasian Knot, 07/04/2017.  
  22. Lawyers: Ministry of Justice decision on the Jehovah's Witnesses does not negate the freedom of conscience in Russia // Caucasian Knot, 30/3/2017.  
  23. Jehovah's Witnesses in the south of Russia told about the problems after the court decision on the liquidation of their organizations // Caucasian Knot, 27/4/2017.  
  24. Ibid.  
  25. Ibid.  
  26. Ibid.  
 

Source: https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/300620/© Caucasian Knot

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"DO NOT DIG A PIT FOR ANOTHER. . ."

Ban of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia has become symbol of senseless discrimination against believers

by Roman Lunkin

Religiia i Pravo, 19 July 2017

 

The Russian government has, for the FIRST TIME since soviet times, completely banned a SPECIFIC RELIGIOUS  movement and recognized that hundreds of thousands of believers—Russian citizens—are outside the law. The ban came on an extremely symbolic date. On 17 July (the date of remembrance of the murder of the tsarist family) a chamber of the Supreme Court of the RF left without satisfaction an appeal by the Jehovah's Witnesses and thereby the decision regarding their liquidation in Russia took effect in its entirety. After 20 April (Hitler's date of birth), Jehovah's Witnesses were required to suspend their activity. Now the property of the organization will be confiscated throughout the country and believers will be driven from their houses of worship.

 

The case of the Jehovah's Witnesses has for long years been the occasion for accusations against Russia of violation of freedom of conscience and of simple common sense. Believers have prepared an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and it is quite clear that the decision will not be in Russia's favor. On 18 July the European External Action Service condemned the decision of the Russian Supreme Court, noting the basic right, which religious groups should have. This is freedom of assembly, which believers have been deprived of.

 

The way the authorities have dispensed with this new religious movement, which many Christian confessions view with dread, will not pass without a trace for all of them. First, representatives of the government took advantage of theological differences among various religions and confessions, knowing that nobody especially would support Jehovah's Witnesses, and official representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church will condemn them with joy. Second, the Jehovah's Witnesses became a clear example of the fact that persecution of those who believe differently in Russia is based on an unvarnished lie. Such Orthodox activists as Roman Silantiev or Alexander Dvorkin base discrimination (leading to disruption of relations between religion and the state and inter-religious strife) on myths about "national security" and how spies exist everywhere and poor citizens supposedly do not know who is preaching to them.

 

The reporting is noteworthy on the program "Vesti-Moskva" on the "Russia" channel of 18 July 2017 about the ban of the Jehovah's Witnesses, where they were accused of proclaiming the truth of their religion and collecting donations, although these are also done by the Orthodox Church. In addition, Jehovah's Witnesses were also accused of forbidding blood transfusion, although this fact was not at all considered in the course of any judicial proceedings. And there are few who are interested in the fact that expert analyses considering brochures of Jehovah's Witnesses to be extremist were no less absurd and grotesque, from the point of view of science. The Supreme Court did not pay any attention to this.

 

The decision that was adopted about the ban of Jehovah's Witnesses, in the opinion of a member of the Council on Human Rights under the Russian president and attorney of the Slavic Legal Center, Vladimir Riakhovsky, may be called political. Hopes that common sense would prevail were not justified. Vladimir Riakhovsky says that it turns out that nobody considered the consequences of the decision that was adopted. After 17 July it is inevitable, not only that property will be confiscated, which is an unprecedented since soviet times nationalization of church property, but also that there will be criminal cases against members of religious congregations. Believers may wind up in confinement or receive suspended sentences (several families of Jehovah's Witnesses in Taganrog have already been sentenced to suspended terms).

 

The potential possibility of prison for believers in the country has frightened many other representatives of non-Orthodox Christian confessions, inasmuch as it is they who are most active in the missionary sphere and are most numerous. New religious movements are marginalized and can more easily change the form of their existence in society. Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Adventists immediately became the number one targets for radical "sect fighters." In the first place, following the logic of soviet atheists, all the might of the press and law enforcement system should be turned on Pentecostal Charismatics, since they have the most emotional services and clear theological conceptions of healing.

 

In connection with the action of the "Yarovaya Law" with respect to evangelical congregations (fines for illegal missionary activity), many churches have proven to be frightened and weakened, and their relations with society and local authorities have turned out to be under threat. Any of the provisions of the Yarovaya Law for control of evangelism and fines for distributing religious literature may affect not only protestants and Catholics but also Orthodox. Within the framework of the Russian Orthodox Church there are many quite diverse conservative and liberal groups, which also want to preach freely. Moreover, they will have full rights to do this in the future. For now the authorities are not applying the law with respect to Orthodox, but that is quite possible.

 

Ironically, a part of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine wound up in a similar situation, repeating the situation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. The Verkhovna Rada is considering draft law No. 4511 "On the special status of religious organizations whose administrative centers are located in a state recognized by the Verkhovna Rada as an aggressor state." An explanatory note to this bill says: "There exists in Ukraine a direct threat of external influence and destructive propaganda, with the use of the religious factor on the part of an aggressor state. In circumstances of external military aggression, this creates the potential danger of the emergence of new foci of conflicting and inter-confessional tensions and inter-religious conflict, and as a consequence this means the emergence of real threats to the national interests, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national security of Ukraine." Sect fighters in Russia say approximately the same about Jehovah's Witnesses.

 

In the event of the adoption of this bill in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTs), as part of the Moscow patriarchate, will have to show that the UPTs exists independently from the administrative center, that is, from the RPTs. And that the canonical subordination of the UPTs to the Moscow patriarchate is an internal determination of a religious organization in which the state should not interfere. This is the spiritual tie of the Russian church and the UPTs. Ukrainian deputies, like many Russians also, think that they themselves may carve up the religious field as they wish. In the event it is recognized as an organization with its center in an "aggressor state," the UPTs will have to coordinate its personnel policy with the authorities and will fall under the control of bureaucrats, and those who will not submit apparently will be threatened with criminal cases for lack of "patriotism."

 

In the course of judicial proceedings in the Russian Supreme Court, the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses did not manage to prove that the center has only a spiritual link with local congregations and the liquidation of the center should not lead to liquidation of all actually independent organizations. And the Jehovah's Witnesses became "non-patriots," who may be put into jail.

 

Regardless of the situation around Jehovah's Witnesses, the state in Russia, in the person of the police and prosecutors, received after the adoption of the Yarovaya Law the greatest power of government and control over religion without any reasonable explanation, and this is a deep pit for all preachers, each of whom is obliged to consider someone a "heretic," "schismatic," or "sectarian." Such is religious life. (tr. by PDS, posted 19 July 2017)

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