For Immediate Release
January 7, 2010
Will more religious literature be banned in Russia?
GORNO-ALTAYSK, Russia—A hearing is set for January 27, 2010, in the Supreme Court of the Altay Republic.
The basis for this appeal came on October 1, 2009, when the city court of Gorno-Altaysk issued a decision that labels 18 religious publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses extremist. Copyrights for these publications belong to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, and Wachtturm Bibel- und Traktat-Gesellschaft in Germany is the publisher. The decision that was reached in the city court in Gorno-Altaysk directly affects the rights and responsibilities of these foreign legal entities. They were not allowed to present necessary proof and to participate in the examination of evidence, thereby not being allowed to contribute to a full and comprehensive review of case materials; they filed a complaint to the Supreme Court of the republic.
As of January 2010, publications of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania are produced in 537 languages and distributed in 236 lands. The combined monthly circulation of The Watchtower and Awake! exceeds 77 million copies each month, of which only 3 million are distributed in Russia.
Yaroslav Sivulskiy, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, comments: “These publications contain articles that teach us respect, mercy and love for fellowman. You can read them and see for yourself. Using an educational approach to faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to counteract trends toward prejudice and the real extremism that is dangerous, even deadly. Jehovah’s Witnesses are an open, politically neutral religious association known worldwide, including all over Russia. For decades, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia have been extending peace and kindness toward people of all nationalities who may have different viewpoints. Although some may not like the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses share their faith in God with others, nevertheless the teachings and activities of the Witnesses have nothing to do with ‘extremism.’”
The appeal hearing in the Judicial Chamber for Civil Cases of the Supreme Court of the Altay Republic is set for January 27, 2010, at 9:00 in the morning. The appeal will be heard at the address Tsentralniy per., 3, in the city of Gorno-Altaysk.
Russia: Yaroslav Sivulskiy, Telephone: +7 911 087 80 09
USA: J.R. Brown, telephone +1 718 560 5600
Belgium: European Association of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses, telephone: +32 2 782 0015
Germany: Wolfram Slupina, Telephone:+ 49 6483 413110