Jehovah’s Witnesses prosecuted for breaking law, not over faith, notes Russia’s top court

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© Sergei Savostianov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Jehovah’s Witnesses has been outlawed in Russia for violating the law rather than due to motives of religious persecution, Chairman of Russia’s Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev told reporters on Tuesday.

“Indeed, this is portrayed like people being persecuted over their religious practices, in their view. However, this judgement, which was also pronounced by the Supreme Court, is not linked to religious practice. What we’re talking about here is the law and the rules being broken,” Lebedev specified.

This case is not related to extremism, he noted. “No one is persecuting anyone for their faith. A decision was made on banning the organization, as the Supreme Court stated in its ruling, due to its activity, which is outlawed,” he explained.

When asked if the decision on banning the organization could be reversed, Lebedev stressed that the Supreme Court had already considered this argument.

Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international religious organization that supports offbeat views on the essence of the Christian faith and provides special interpretations of many commonly accepted notions.

In August 2017, the Russian Justice Ministry included the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization and its 395 local religious branches to the list of organizations that are outlawed nationwide. The Russian Supreme Court satisfied the claim of the Justice Ministry to shut down the organization on April 20, 2017.

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