Clarín – 20th April 2018
Controversy over the measurement
Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned in Russia for “extremists”
There are 175,000 faithful in that country. The Russian government confiscated all his assets. They assure that they will continue to meet in secret.
The Russian Supreme Court declared the Jehovah’s Witnesses illegal today and announced the confiscation of all its assets , because it considers this religious organization as extremist .
A Russian official of the Witnesses, Iaroslav Sivulski, declared himself “shocked” by the decision of the judges and announced that the organization will appeal the measure. “I did not think something like this could happen in modern Russia, where the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, ” he said.
The Russian Justice Ministry had filed a lawsuit before the High Court, because it considered Jehovah’s Witnesses to be “a threat to the rights of the people, public order and public safety.”
Judge Yury Ivanenko specified in the reading of the ruling that the organization “must deliver its properties to the Russian Federation . ” The group claims to have 175,000 members and 395 centers throughout the country.
“Our faithful are in a very uncomfortable position, they run the risk of being brought to justice,” said Sivulski, who assured that members of the organization will continue to meet in secret.
The Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses have had several encounters with the law in recent years. In January, the head of the organization in the city of Dzerzhinsk was fined for distributing material considered extremist by the authorities.
The Russian government already dissolved a branch of the organization in 2004, and the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2010 that the decision had violated the rights of religion and association.
In 2007 she was again sentenced for violating the religious freedom of a hundred faithful, whom the authorities prevented from meeting in 2000 in the auditorium of a school in Chelyabinsk, Siberia.
“We fear that the law against extremism will be used against the faithful who will continue with their meetings to study the Bible, ” Evgueni Kalinin, a faithful who was at the court hearing, told AFP.
For the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a dangerous sect, because, among other things, they prohibit blood transfusions for their members.
But the rivalry and proselytism of these religious movements, like the evangelists, are also cause for distrust for the dominant religious hierarchy in Russia.
The Jehovah’s Witness Church was founded towards the end of the 19th century in the United States by Charles Russel.
They claim as Christians and ensure, through indefatigable door-to-door campaigns, the coming arrival of the Kingdom of God on Earth. But they do not believe in the divinity of Christ , which causes the rejection of other Christian confessions.
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