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  • » 11/08/2016, 14.19

    RUSSIA

    Russia, a court will determine whether the New Testament is "extremist"

    Nina Achmatova

    The case is related to the Gideons mission who wanted to import sacred texts, according to the law. Customs in Vyborg, however, blocked the shipment claiming they wanted to verify the presence of extremist literature.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - On 16 November in Vyborg, near St. Petersburg, the city court will hold a hearing on a case involving the examination of the New Testament and the Book of Psalms to determine whether or not they are extremist literature.

    Last July, the Gideons – an evangelical Christian organization that distributes Bibles and New Testaments for free - wanted to import Bibles and books of Psalms to Russia which they have been distributing in the country for years.

    The customs of Vyborg, however, called for a linguistic scrutiny by experts, before letting them enter the territory of the Russian Federation. Shortly after, one of the customs service officers in charge, Serghei Lenin, explained that the refusal to pass the material was linked to the fact that documentation showing that the books had not carried an extremist content, as required by law, was not submitted.

    As reported by the portal Religia i Pravo, the office of the mission of the Gideons, Anatoly Pchelintsev, noted that the customs officials have completely ignored the amendments of 2015 to the law "to combat extremist activities" and for which the sacred books of the Bible, Quran, the Tanakh (the sacred texts of Judaism) and Kangyur (Buddhist canon) can never be considered extremist.

    For this, the customs of Vyborg, according to Giodons, should not have stopped their books because they are the Bible. To confirm this, the Christian organization had provided the authorities subjected the texts to the scrutiny of the department of religious studies at Herzen Russian State Pedagogical University.

    But the customs officers did not take into account either the amendments to the law, nor the analysis of experts and have held 20 thousand books at the border ad interim, so much so that many have been sent back to Finland where they had been printed.

    "What happened can be explained by the ignorance of officials, police and customs personnel - writes Religia i Pravo - But this is an oversimplification and does not fully explain the situation. The head of Customs knows the New Testament, but also knows that whatever is religious is now suspect in Russia due to the intensification of the legislation ".

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    See also

    19/03/2011 TURKMENISTAN
    Turkmen amnesty excludes Protestant and Jehovah's Witnesses
    The amnesty sought by President Berdymukhammedov for reasons of "mercy and humanity," has not been extended to Jehovah's Witnesses detained for refusing military service. Protestant minister Nurliev, convicted on false evidence, also kept in prison.

    21/11/2013 RUSSIA
    Russia, attacks on Jehovah's Witnesses and Pentecostals increase under anti-extremism law
    Experts from the Sova center denounce the escalation of attacks against religious minorities. On November 25 Tagarong trial opens against 16 Jehovah's Witnesses accused of extremism for continuing to pray and read the Bible together, after the ban on the community decided by the Russian Supreme Court in 2009.

    08/07/2011 RUSSIA
    Orthodox nationalists attempt to prevent Jehovah's Witnesses congress
    The event should take place this weekend, but the organization 'Council of the People' asks the attorney general to verify its legality: "The JWs are a dangerous cult and violate the law."

    09/04/2013 RUSSIA
    Taganrog, new charges against Jehovah's Witnesses
    The prosecutor formally indicts 16 JW for having re-started the organization's activities, prohibited since 2009 after a conviction for "extremism." Human Rights Defenders: now we have come to a stage of outright persecution.

    29/07/2011 RUSSIA
    Protests in Rostov against Jehovah's Witnesses
    After accusations, trials and physical attacks, street protests now target the JW. Slogans and banners stigmatize the community as an extremist sect.



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