After six days of hearing, Russia’s Supreme court ruled on Thursday that the Jehovah’s Witnesses group is an “extremist organization” and ordered the seizure of all its property in Russia.
The group’s headquarters and all its 395 local chapters in Russia were ordered to be closed, as the Justice Ministry attorney Sveltlana Borisova stated of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, “They pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security.”
Borisova also claimed that the group’s opposition to blood transfusions “violates Russian health care laws,” and has labeled it an “extremist cult.”
The group reportedly has about 175,000 followers in Russia, and said they will appeal the ruling. They legally registered as a religious group in Russia in 1991, and re-registered in 1991.
Russia has banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses literature, including their Watchtower magazine, and claims it is a group that “destroys families, fosters hatred and threatens lives,” an allegation which the group has soundly denied.
USA Today reported that the city of Taganrog banned the group in 2009, claiming they “incited religious hatred by propagating the exclusivity and supremacy of their religion.”
In the following video, Russian police forced their way into the Jehovah’s Witnesses facility recently to “search for extremist literature.”
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