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Defence compares arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses in Dagestan with Soviet practice


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The ban on Jehovah's Witnesses* as a religious organization is no basis for persecuting for faith, but law enforcers ignore it, Maxim Pervunin, a lawyer for four Dagestani believers, has stated at a press conference today. He pointed to parallels of persecutions of Jehovah's Witnesses in modern Russia with the Soviet-time practices.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 1, searches were conducted in four cities of Dagestan. Law enforcers detained and placed behind bars four Jehovah's Witnesses, Arsen Abdullaev, Maria Karpova, Anton Dergalyov and Marat Abdulgalimov. Their relatives and friends claim that charges of extremism have been brought against peace-loving and law-abiding people.

In modern Russia, the persecution history of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Soviet Union is repeated, Maxim Pervunin said at a press conference. He has noted that the methodology for proving guilt, which is now used by investigative bodies, remains largely the same. However, Mr Pervunin expressed hope that in future believers will be rehabilitated, as it already happened in the USSR.

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      3) We do not lobby, vote in political elections, run for government office, or try to change governments. …Otherwise, how could we have a clean conscience when we preach the good news that only God’s Kingdom can solve mankind’s problems? source: 
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      lobby verb [ I or T ]  UK  /ˈlɒb.i/ US  /ˈlɑː.bi/
      C2 to try to persuade a politician, the government, or an official group that a particular thing should or should not happen, or that a law should be changed:

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      Recent example how WT Company and JW members participated in "lobbying" was writing letters to Russian Government and their politicians. 
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    • By Isabella
      The United Kingdom remains deeply concerned about the situation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Russian Federation. As we said on 12 March, the ruling of the Russian Supreme Court in July 2017, which rejected the appeal against the decision to categorise Jehovah’s Witnesses as “extremists”, criminalised the peaceful worship of 175,000 Russian citizens and contravened the right to religious freedom that is enshrined in the Russian Constitution, and in multiple OSCE commitments.
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    • By Isabella
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    • By Isabella
      As part of the case, ten people are suspected of running a local religious organization affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses
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    • By Isabella
      Russian authorities armed with assault rifles raided 110 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Voronezh Region on July 13, 2020, according to an official press release by the Voronezh Region Investigative Committee. This is the largest series of raids conducted in one day on Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern Russia. Preliminary reports from my colleagues indicates that at least two Witnesses were beaten.
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    • By Isabella
      Article 6 of the Russian Constitution states that individuals cannot be stripped of their citizenship. Kim (and, more recently, two jailed Jehovah's Witnesses), however, was deprived of his Russian citizenship on the basis of an amendment to Article 22 of the 2002 Citizenship Law which entered legal force on 1 September 2017.
       
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      Verkhovsky pointed out that a person then could change their views over time. "They might not even have imagined that their views imply a change to the constitutional order," he added.
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    • By Isabella
      In the third jailing in Russian-occupied Crimea on "extremism" charges to punish the exercise of freedom of religion and belief, Jehovah's Witness Artyom Gerasimov was jailed for six years after a prosecutor appealed against an earlier fine. Jailed earlier were Muslim Renat Suleimanov for four years and Jehovah's Witness Sergei Filatov for six years. Like Suleimanov and Filatov, Gerasimov expects to be sent to a prison in Russia.
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      The first such jailing for exercising freedom of religion and belief was Muslim prisoner of conscience Renat Suleimanov. In January 2019 a Simferopol court jailed him for four years on "extremism"-related charges for meeting openly in mosques with three friends to discuss their faith.
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    • By Isabella
      Today the Crimean Supreme Court sentenced Artem Gerasimov to six years in prison for his peaceful Christian worship as one of Jehovah's Witnesses.
      He was seeking acquittal from his original sentence by the Yalta City Court, which was a fine for 400,000 rubles.
      Today's ruling immediately came into force and Artem was taken into custody.
      Jarrod Lopes, spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses, states: "Today's ruling by the Crimean Supreme Court brings religious persecution to a new level of cruelty.
      Since the 2017 Russian Supreme Court's ruling that effectively banned Jehovah's Witnesses, this is the first time an appeal has resulted in a more severe punishment.
      This bleak development in Crimea is the latest example of Russia exporting its patently extreme religious intolerance.
      Human rights advocates across the globe have publicly criticized Russia for its baseless attack on Jehovah's Witnesses, internationally recognized as peaceful, societally responsible Christians.
      We hope that senior officials in Russia will soon correct the injustice being doled out in their local courts and that judges in Crimea will follow suit.
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      Artem's new sentence now matches the sentence of Sergey Filatov, who was likewise convicted on March 5, 2020, but by the Dzhankoysky District Court.

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    • By Isabella
      A Russian-controlled ‘court’ in occupied Crimea has rejected the appeal brought by Serhiy Filatov, a 47-year-old Jehovah’s Witness from Dzhankoy, against his six-year prison sentence for practising his faith.  Russia has now not only reinstated Soviet persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but is breaching international law by applying such repressive measures on illegally occupied territory.
      The hearing before ‘judge’ Edward Belousov, of the Crimean High Court, was held on 26 May behind closed doors.  This was due to restrictions over the pandemic but did mean that Filatov, who took part by video link from the SIZO [remand prison] was deprived of the chance to see his family and all those who would have wished to show their support.  
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      Filatov was found to have prayed, together with others, in his own home, which the Russian-controlled prosecutor and court chose to view as “undermining constitutional order and state security”.  He was charged under Article 282.2 § 1 of Russia’s criminal code which punishes for something termed ‘organization of the activities of an extremist organization.”   Russia treats the presumption of innocence with the same contempt it shows religious freedom, and Filatov was swiftly added to Russia’s notorious ‘list of extremists and terrorists’, with this bringing serious economic restrictions.  He was not, however, held in detention, and was taken into custody after the sentence was announced on 5 March.  He has been held at the Simferopol SIZO [remand prison], where the overcrowding, filth and unsanitary conditions are a danger to life and health.  Now that the appeal has failed, he may be moved, in violation this time also of the European Court of Human Rights, to Russia.

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    • By Isabella
      On May 6, 2020, the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention prepared a decision concerning 18 believers in Russia. The Group considers the cases brought against them to be unlawful, urges authorities to immediately release those arrested, in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, and to “take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of their rights.”
      The authoritative UN body considered the complaint of eighteen Russian believers from Volgograd, Kemerovo, Smolensk, Penza, Perm and Novozybkov. Ten of them were arrested and detained in the pre-trial detention center: Andrey Magliv, Igor Yegozaryan, Ruslan Korolev, Vladimir Kulyasov, Valery Rogozin, Valery Shalev, Tatiana Shamsheva, Olga Silayeva, Alexander Solovyov and Denis Timoshin.
      According to 15-page decision No. 10/2020, none of the cases examined had a basis for criminal prosecution and they should all be closed immediately. The cases were brought "only because [the accused] peacefully practised their religious beliefs, including carrying religious texts and the Bible, gathered together in worship services with fellow believers" (para. 67).
      Paragraph 71 of the document states: "All 18 people ... were accused of various forms of 'extremist activity. However, in the Working Group's opinion, none of the activities described can be interpreted as such. Furthermore, no information has been submitted to the Working Group and the Working Group itself cannot establish any reasons that might justify restricting the rights of the 18 individuals concerned under article 18 of the [International] Covenant [on Civil and Political Rights]. The Working Group considers that all the activities in which they participated were a peaceful way of exercising the right to freedom of religion in accordance with article 18 of the Covenant. Such activities were the only basis for the detention and trial of all 18 individuals".
      Paragraph 80 stresses that "the actions of the 18 named individuals were peaceful, and there is no evidence that any of them, or any of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia at all, have ever resorted to violence or called others to violence".
      The decision repeats that there is a "systematic and institutionalized persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses" in Russia (clause 78). The same wording was used in the decision of 1 October 2019 concerning Vladimir Alushkin of Penza and in the decision of 3 May 2019 concerning Dmitry Mikhailov of Shuia (Ivanovo Region). Thus, this is the third opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in relation to Russian Jehovah's Witnesses. In all cases the UN representatives rejected the connection of Jehovah's Witnesses with extremism.
      The Working Group also calls for the release from detention of those detained in pretrial detention facilities, as there is a high risk of COVID-19 contamination with limited medical assistance (para. 84).
      In paragraph 85, the Working Group calls for "a full and independent investigation into the circumstances of the arbitrary deprivation of liberty" of believers and "to take appropriate action against those responsible".
      The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is the body designed to investigate cases of detention that are not in conformity with the international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments. The Working Group is entitled to receive information from the authorities and non-governmental organizations and to meet with detainees and their families in order to establish the facts. The Working Group presents its findings and recommendations to Governments as well as to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Although the decisions of the Working Group are not binding on States, they may contribute to weakening the position of the authorities in a context of wide international publicity.
      According to the legal position of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation as expressed in Decision No. 1276-O of 9 June 2015, the Russian Federation, as a State governed by the rule of law, cannot ignore, without avoiding the legal consequences, the decision of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention containing conclusions on the arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution of citizens.

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    • By Isabella
      Of the 87 Jehovah's Witnesses on trial in 39 cases for "continuing the activities of a banned extremist organisation" for exercising freedom of religion or belief, 85-year-old Yelena Zayshchuk is the oldest. Five fellow defendants in her case are in their sixties or seventies. All face up to six years' imprisonment if convicted. Two defendants in their sixties died in April before trials began.
      At least 18 of the 87 Jehovah's Witnesses on trial on charges of "continuing the activities of a banned extremist organisation" for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief are in their sixties, seventies or eighties. Another defendant died in Kirov in April shortly before the first full hearing was due in his trial. Another man died in Smolensk in April after investigators submitted the case against him to prosecutors and before it reached court. Both those who died were in their sixties.
       
       
      The oldest defendant is 85-year-old Yelena Zayshchuk, whom the FSB security service took in for questioning after raiding her home in Vladivostok in April 2018. Her family "do not understand why they are persecuting an elderly and sick person who has done nothing wrong to anyone", Jehovah's Witnesses commented (see below).

      Among the other six on trial with Zayshchuk is Nina Purge, who is due to be 80 on 19 June. Four of the other defendants are women in their sixties or seventies. The Judge has sent the case back to prosecutors (see below).

      Yury Geraskov, who died in Kirov at the age of 64, had not spent any time in detention, but "stress connected with persecution for his faith had negatively affected Yury's health", Jehovah's Witnesses noted (see below).

      Viktor Malkov, who died in Smolensk at the age of 61, had spent eight months in detention and nearly four months under house arrest. He had suffered from coronary heart disease and kidney problems. "Viktor's health was largely influenced by poor conditions in pre-trial detention centres and the stress associated with criminal prosecution", Jehovah's Witnesses noted (see below).

      Sergey Mysin is on trial in Ulyanovsk despite serious health concerns. Jehovah's Witnesses say he was discharged early from intensive care in October 2019 after FSB security service officers went to the hospital to insist on his treatment being stopped. The Ulyanovsk Region FSB refused to answer any questions from Forum 18 on the incident (see below).

      Two of the other defendants are men who have already been convicted in another, overlapping trial (see below).

      Despite the coronavirus pandemic, there is no sign of early release, however, for those Jehovah's Witnesses currently in pre-trial detention. Several are worried about the danger of contracting the disease (see below).

      The Moscow-based Public Verdict human rights group warns of poor conditions in Russian prisons, such as "overcrowding, poor ventilation, lack of medical staff, poor medical care, and serious health problems, including chronic conditions and lowered immunity among inmates and staff alike" (see below).

      Nina Purge
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    • By Isabella
      Aleksandr is married, has two daughters and eight grandchildren. He has two accreditations. He mastered the trades of lathe worker, forging and manufacturing; worked as a lumberjack and as an engineer. Having become a Christian, Aleksandr Ivshin refused to participate in military training. Now he is under persecution as an ”extremist.”

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    • By Isabella
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    • By Isabella
      According to data on May 4, 2020, Feliks Makhammadiyev, who had a damaged lung, is recovering in the prison hospital; the threat to life has passed. Believers Budenchuk, Miretskiy, Gridasov and German also report feeling better. They are forced to work ten hours a day.

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    • By Isabella
      According to tabulations April 20, 2020, three years after the liquidation of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ communities, 332 people became victims of criminal prosecution, 166 of these undergoing imprisonment. These are honest, non-drinking workers: teachers, builders, firefighters, accountants, lawyers. Authorities ruin their career, paralyze their life.

      From left to right, top to bottom: Galina Dergacheva, Sergey Loginov, Igor Trifonov, Galina Parkova, Vitaliy Popov, Elena Nikulina, Dmitriy Vinogradov, Maksim Amosov

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    • By Isabella
      In the morning of April 29, 2020, groups of armed security forces invaded at least seven homes of residents of Pavlovskaya and Kholmskaya villages for searches and interrogations, exposing believers to the risk of infection during the pandemic. A 62-year-old believer was taken to Krasnodar for interrogation, and a written recognizance not to leave the place was taken.

      Illustrative photo

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    • By Isabella
      The April 1st verdict to the believer — a husband and father of two children — provides a list of material evidence by which one can judge the nature of his ‘crime’: “Religious cards; religious games; envelope with religious pictures; Bible domino; folder with Bible comics; box with postcards.”

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    • By Isabella
      The Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus has refused to extradite a Jehovah’s Witnesses follower, Nikolai Makhalichev, to Russia. He was released from custody, human rights organization Human Constanta said on Facebook.
      A Russian national and member of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious group, Makhalichev has spent 40 days in custody in Belarus. Human rights activists hope that the Belarusian authorities will give the Russian a refugee status or asylum, after which he will be able to live in safety.
      Nikolai Makhalichev, 36, was detained on February 21 in the town of Haradok, Viciebsk region. He was told that Russia had put him on an interstate wanted list because he belonged to a banned religious community.

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    • By Isabella
      PRISONS ARE fecund incubators for coronavirus — people in tight proximity, surfaces easily contaminated, closed internal spaces, poor hygiene and lack of medicines. For those around the world who have been thrown into jails for their beliefs, the pandemic could become a death sentence. Prisoners everywhere must be protected from the virus on humanitarian grounds, and political prisoners ought to be freed now so they do not die for their words and convictions.
      In Kyrgyzstan, journalist Azimjon Askarov is ill. Let him go. Iran must release Iranian American businessman Siamak Namazi, held for more than four years in Evin prison. In Russia, the political prisoners include 26 Jehovah’s Witnesses in pretrial detention and eight in penal colonies. They should not face a covid-19 death sentence for their religious beliefs. In Venezuela, the “Citgo 6” have been recently moved from house arrest to prison. They are six oil company executives — five U.S. citizens and one permanent resident — arrested and detained in 2017. They must be released.

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    • By Isabella
      On March 20, 2020, the investigator D. Melnikov opened another criminal case under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation against local resident Tatyana Kulakova. Criminal investigations are under way against her husband and eldest son, Dmitriy. The youngest of the Kulakov family, Yevgeniy, for reasons of conscience, asks to replace his military service with alternative civilian service (ACS). However, the authorized bodies unreasonably deny his request, threatening criminal prosecution for “evading military service.”

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    • By Isabella
      67-year-old Yuriy Krutyakov was arrested on March 4, 2020, on suspicion of extremism. Now he is placed in the Moscow pre-trial Detention Center No. 4, a special unit for particularly dangerous criminals. Yuriy suffers from a number of serious diseases, having undergone several operations. Meanwhile, Yuriy was deprived of the Bible. His copy of the Holy Scriptures was withdrawn for verification; until now, the book has not been returned.

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    • By Isabella
      A Russian court has overturned the convictions of six Jehovah’s Witnesses accused of extremism, marking the first instance of the group's worshippers having their verdicts overturned in Russia, the group announced Wednesday.
      The court in Penza, some 550 kilometers southeast of Moscow, handed five adherents suspended two-year prison sentences in December. The sixth worshipper, Vladimir Alushkin, was jailed for six years after an investigation had shown that he had continued to run the local Jehovah’s Witnesses branch despite the group being outlawed in Russia.
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      Vladimir Alushkin, a Jehovah's Witnesses member who in December was jailed for six years, has been released after his conviction on extremism charges was overturned.
    • By Isabella
      On the afternoon of 3 March 2020, a court in the southern Crimean town of Yalta is expected to issue its verdict in the "extremism"-related criminal case of Jehovah's Witness Artyom Gerasimov. The prosecutor has demanded a general regime jail term of six and a half years, plus one year of restrictions on freedom and a three-year ban on unspecified activity (see below).

      On the morning of 5 March, the District Court in the northern Crimean town of Dzhankoi is expected to issue its verdict in the "extremism"-related criminal case of another Crimean Jehovah's Witness, Sergei Filatov. Closed hearings on 25 and 28 February heard the final speeches in the case. The prosecutor has demanded a strict regime jail term of seven years (see below).

      If either Gerasimov or Filatov is convicted, they would be the first Jehovah's Witnesses convicted in Russian-occupied Crimea to punish them for exercising freedom of religion or belief (see below).

      Two other Jehovah's Witnesses in Russian-occupied Crimea face "extremism"-related criminal charges. Russian security forces again raided the home of one of them on 13 February. An FSB security service present during the raid put the phone down as soon as Forum 18 asked why it had been launched (see below).

      Meanwhile, the FSB security service Investigator has three times refused to grant permission for Oleg Prikhodko to receive a pastoral visit in Simferopol Investigation Prison from Archbishop Kliment, of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The Investigator initially refused because the Church does not have Russian registration. His third refusal claimed such a pastoral visit might harm the investigation (see below).
       
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    • By Isabella
      WASHINGTON (RNS) — Russia’s human rights record, including its history of mistreating religious minorities, is worsening, according to testimony at a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday (Feb. 27).  
      “Unfortunately, the human rights situation in Russia continues to deteriorate, and just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., co-chair of the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights, at the hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building.
      Elizabeth Cassidy, director of research and policy at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said Russia’s “malign activities around the globe are clearly evident, yet its systematic, ongoing, egregious repression of religious freedom is less well known.”
      “The Russian government maintains, frequently updates and enforces an array of laws that restrict religious freedom,” Cassidy added.  
      She said Jehovah’s Witnesses, who were banned as “extremist” by the Russian government in 2017, are “among the groups most brutally targeted under these laws in recent years,” as praying, preaching and dissemination of materials outside designated places of worship are often prohibited.
      As of the day of the hearing, the Jehovah’s Witnesses report that 35 of their members are in prison, 25 are under house arrest and 29 have been convicted in Russia.
      “These violations are escalating, spreading through the country and even across its borders,” Cassidy said.

      Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., left, co-chair of the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights, talks with Elizabeth Cassidy, center, and Melissa Hooper after a human rights hearing Feb. 27, 2020, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

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    • By Isabella
      On February 21, 2020, in the Republic of Belarus, police officers detained Russian citizen Nikolay Makhalichev, 36. Checking his documents, they declared he was wanted by the Russian authorities since he was professing a banned religion. Three days later the prosecutor sent him to pre-trial detention facility SIZO-2 in Vitebsk, Belarus.

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    • By Isabella
      Authorities in Russia’s Far East have charged eight Jehovah’s Witnesses with extremism earlier this month, bringing the number of worshippers facing criminal prosecution there to 22, the religious organization said Tuesday.
      Birobidzhan, a city in the Jewish autonomous district, was among a handful of cities to label the Jehovah’s Witnesses as an “extremist” group in 2016. A year later, Russia’s Supreme Court declared the religious group to be “extremist” and banned its estimated 400 branches across the country.
       

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    • By Isabella
      On February 6, 2020, in Orenburg, officers of Penal Colony No. 1 beat believers Budenchuk, German, Gridasov, Makhammadiyev, and Miretskiy with clubs and legs. As a result, one of them, Feliks Makhammadiyev, was hospitalized. The rest were falsely charged and sent to a punishment cell.
      Believers were beaten upon admission to a penal colony located in the Krymsky lane, Orenburg. The next day, the doctors examined them. Only after Feliks Makhammadiyev wrote a document stating that he had “hit himself in the toilet” was an ambulance called in. He was hospitalized, underwent surgery, and a drainage tube was inserted into his lung to drain the fluid. Among other things, the tests showed that Makhammadiyev’s body was starving (he suffers from gluten intolerance, and the colony’s staff members had taken away his prescribed special food). The remaining believers were sent to a punishment cell on false accusations, for example, “for smoking in the wrong place.” (Jehovah's Witnesses do not smoke for religious reasons.)

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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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