Halya Coynash: Russia reinstates darkest Soviet days by banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses

posted 21 Apr 2017, 12:27 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Apr 2017, 12:30 ]
21 April 2017

Russia’s Supreme Court has ignored the country’s Constitution and the decades of religious persecution under Soviet rule and banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses, labelling them ‘extremist’. It has thus placed around 175 thousand believers in the Russian Federation in danger of criminal prosecution for their faith. Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted earlier both in the USSR and by Nazi Germany.

The ruling was passed on April 20 by judge Yury Ivanenko, following an application lodged by Russia’s justice ministry. The ministry had formally asked the court on March 15 to order the dissolution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre and 395 regional branches. Their activities were suspended pending the Court ruling. [Read more on Human Rights in Ukraine]