For Immediate Release
June 24, 2000
Jehovah’s Witnesses appeal to Supreme Court of Republic of Georgia
Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses appealed to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Georgia to protect their legal registration as a religious organization.
The Constitution of Georgia, Article 26, and the European Convention on Human Rights, Articles 9 and 11, guarantee all religious minorities in Georgia the right to freedom of religious association, including the right to form a legal entity to pursue common goals. Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that the decision of the Tbilisi Circuit Court interferes with the exercise of these rights and cannot be reasonably justified.
The three-judge panel of the Tbilisi district court overturned the February 29, 1999, decision of the Isani-Samgori court in Tbilisi. That court found no grounds to invalidate the registration of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The case was heard because of a complaint brought by nationalist politician Guram Sharadze, who is seeking a ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses. A report issued by a panel of religious experts consulted by the Isani-Samgori court said they “found no aggression of any kind” in the religious literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses and urged religious tolerance in Georgia.
Jehovah’s Witnesses remain legally registered until their appeal to the Georgian Supreme Court is heard.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have more than 14 million members and associates worldwide, are legally registered in more than 150 countries.
Contact: J. R. Brown, telephone: (718) 560-5600