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    » 12/05/2014, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    New charges of extremism against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia



    The Russian Supreme Court rules against a website and three books used by the community. The latter talk about God and how to lead a happy life. The sect, which is one of the most ill-treated religious minorities in the former Soviet Union, continues to face legal problems.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - Russia's Supreme Court has ruled that a website and three books by the Jehovah's Witnesses are extremist, the court's press service told the Russian Legal Information (RAPSI) agency.

    Jehovah's Witnesses have faced many legal problems in Russia. In January, a court in Kurgan in the Urals decided to ban the organisation's booklets as extremist. The books talk about how to lead a happy life, what one can hope for, how to develop good relations with God and what one should know about God and its meaning.

    In late December 2013, the leader of the sect's group in Tobolsk, Siberia, was charged with extremism and the prevention of a blood transfusion that nearly led to the death of a female member of the group.

    In 2004, a court in Moscow dissolved and banned a Jehovah's Witnesses group on charges of recruiting children, encouraging believers to break from their families, inciting suicide and preventing believers from accepting medical assistance.

    In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights overturned that court ruling and ruled that Russia should pay 70,000 euros to the defendants.

    Jehovah's Witnesses are among the former Soviet Union's most ill-treated religious minorities.

    Scattered across the Russian Federation, the 200,000-strong community have been accused of sectarianism, "religious extremism", "incitement to social isolation" and behaviours that undermine societal harmony.

    Russian authorities also object to the Witnesses' practice of conscientious objection, opposition to military service, refusal to use weapons, hostility to blood transfusions and the claim made on community members for total devotion. (N/A.)

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    See also

    22/09/2010 RUSSIA
    Jehovah’s Witness gets two years in prison for possession of “extremist literature”
    His crime was possessing Witnesses’ publications, deemed dangerous to public order even when strictly religious in nature. Russia wants to ban the religious group, despite European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that it should be recognised.

    03/06/2015 RUSSIA
    Jehovah's Witnesses allowed to register as a religious organisation in Moscow
    After years of problems, the religious group scores a rare legal victory. A Moscow court had banned them in 2004.

    11/12/2009 RUSSIA
    The Supreme Court confirms: Jehovah's Witnesses outlawed in Rostov
    Upheld a ruling passed in September by the provincial court of the city on the Black Sea. Communities in the cities of Taganrog, Neklinov Matveeva and Kurgan-can no longer carry out activities and must withdraw. 34 publications banned for "extremist content" and property confiscated. Jehovah's Witnesses are turning to the European Court.

    11/03/2010 RUSSIA
    More than 50 Jehovah’s Witnesses arrested in Russia for taking part in a public protest
    Some 150,000 volunteers hand out about 12 million leaflets slamming the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, guilty of rejecting to military service and unfriendliness towards other religious groups. For their part, the Witnesses say that history is repeating itself with a return to Soviet-style persecution.

    05/10/2009 RUSSIA
    Altai court condemns Jehovah’s Witnesses for “extremism”
    Some of the group’s publications are blamed for inciting religious confrontation. Jehovah’s Witnesses respond saying the texts in question are distributed in 200 countries around the world. The Altai court ruling is like one handed down in Rostov in mid-September. Similar trials are underway before other Russian courts.



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