05/16/2017, 13.42
RUSSIA

Vandalism and marginalisation against Jehovah's Witnesses and their children

Jehovah’s Witnesses have their windows broken, and insults scribbled near their places of worship in many provinces. Their children are threatened with expulsion if they take part in the religion’s “terrorist meetings”.

Moscow (AsiaNews/RRN) – After the Supreme Court's decision to outlaw the Jehovah's Witnesses organisation, acts of violence and vandalism against members of the religious community have been reported across Russia. In some cases, reports indicate that teachers and police have been putting pressures on children to detach themselves from their parents.

Although the ruling of the Supreme Court on 20 April has not yet taken effect, a wave of aggressive actions against the religious group has begun sweeping across Russia, in St Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Penza, Rostov, Tula, as well as Krasnoyarsk territory.

On 6 May, unidentified people drove up to the home of a Jehovah’s Witness family in Novokhopersky (Voronezh province) and broke their windows, shouting slogans and threats.

Overnight on 14 May, in Yekaterinburg, someone wrote insulting graffiti on a porch near a building where Jehovah’s Witnesses were holding a service.

Many Jehovah’s Witness children have also come under pressure from policemen, school principals, and teachers. Police visit families and shout at mothers for letting their children be educated "in extremist activities."

In a school in Rodionovo-Nesvetaisk (Rostov province), ​​the director called a 14-year-old girl into his office, saying that her mother met with "terrorist organisations" in which she learnt to "steal" and "kill people".

The principal brought the girl to tears, threatening to expel her from school if she went to Jehovah’s Witness meetings. "If you wish, read the Bible at home, and do not go anywhere," he said. "Just read our Bible, from the [Orthodox] Church."

For the Russian Orthodox Church, banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses was "a positive act".

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