The Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre in Moscow, which is recognised by Russian authorities, has already appealed the decision by the court in Gorno-Altaisk. However, the situation for the religious group is very delicate. The latest ruling comes in the wake of that in Rostov and before others expected in other regions of the Russian Federation, where legal proceedings are currently underway. The charge is the same: incitement of religious extremism.
The material in question is the same as those the group publishes and distributes across Europe and in about 200 countries around the world, in 176 different languages.
For the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the latest case represents another attack by the legal system of Russia’s republics. “Such a decision may lead to the legalisation of illegal actions against peaceful citizens who wish to worship God in accordance with their own conscience and the principles of the sacred scriptures, the Bible," the Jehovah’s Witnesses centre said.
The Christian group is among the most harassed religious minorities in the territories of the former Soviet Union.
Numbered at around 200,000, Jehovah’s Witnesses are accused across the Russian Federation of sectarianism, “religious extremism,” “incitement to social isolation,” and behaviours that undermine the civil life of the country.