Russian Supreme Court bans regional Jehovah’s Witnesses branch

Russian Supreme Court’s judicial chamber for civil cases upheld a decision to ban a southern Russian branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal against a previous court ruling of the Rostov regional court issued on September 11, 2009, which declares the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ branch in the southern Russian city of Taganrog an extremist organization and bans its activities.

Jehovah’s Witnesses
Theologically the Watch Tower Society, the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, is — theologically — a cult of Christianity
The oppressive organization does not represent historical, Biblical Christianity in any way.
Sociologically, it is a destructive cult whose false teachings frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths.
While the Watch Tower Society claims to speak for God, its false prophecies, frequent flip-flops on various issues (including the end of the world, or its stance on blood), theological nonsense and quackery — documented here from its own publications — speak for themselves.

Commentary/resources by

Some 34 books, issued and handed out by the organization, were put on the national list of extremist literature.

The ruling “could set a precedent not only for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but for believers of all confessions,” the group said in a statement, issued on its website ahead of the hearing. “It would be the first time internationally recognized Christian literature was censored in Russia.”

A plot of land, an office building and other property belonging to the group were also seized.

A regional prosecutor told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that some publications, distributed by the cult‘s followers, “contain offensive comments,” including those that say that Christianity is a “false religion.”

She said that followers of Jehovah’s Witnesses also violate the rights of atheists with their “repeated attempts to enter private premises with the purpose of intrusive preaching”

– Source / Full Story: Russian Supreme Court bans regional Jehovah’s Witnesses branch, RIA Novosti, Russia, Dec. 8, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

“We are deeply disappointed with that decision,” Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman Yaroslav Sivulskiy told The Associated Press. “We are concerned that it may affect all our activities, including imports of our publications which are printed in Germany.”

He said that the group will appeal the Supreme Court’s verdict to the European Court for Human Rights, arguing that the Russian courts misinterpreted the law. The law on combating extremism that served as a basis for the verdict has been widely criticized by many rights groups, which said its loose phrasing allowed authorities to stifle dissent.

A 2004 ruling by the Moscow City Court prohibited Jehovah’s Witnesses branch in the Russian capital from engaging in religious activity in the Russian capital.

Sivulskiy said there are at least 160,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.

– Source / Full Story: Russian court rules against Jehovah’s Witnesses, Associated Press via MSNBC, Dec. 8, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also

Extensive background about this case, provided by Forum18.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday December 9, 2009.
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