For Immediate Release
April 8, 2010
Witnesses in Russia exhaust domestic options
Appeal filed in Altay Republic case
GORNO-ALTAYSK, Russia—Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia are filing supervisory appeals to challenge the January 27, 2010, ruling of the Supreme Court of the Altay Republic. That court upheld the decision of the Gorno-Altaysk City Court to pronounce 18 Christian publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses extremist. Two of the three appeals are from the corporations in the United States and Germany that are the publishers and printers of the literature, including Bibles, used by Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide.
In March, the 18 publications were added to the Federal List of Extremist Materials, in effect banning their storage and distribution throughout Russia. The city court dismissed a motion from Jehovah’s Witnesses requesting that an expert study be assigned to a specialized agency to determine whether the literature in question was actually extremist.
A similar ruling that had been handed down by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on December 8, 2009, ultimately resulted in the banning of 34 publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which meant that they would be placed on the national list of extremist literature. Subsequently, throughout Russia, there have been over 150 incidents of detentions of Jehovah’s Witnesses, disruptions of their religious meetings, and searches of their private homes and religious buildings, as well as seizures of their literature and acts of aggression toward them.
Jehovah’s Witnesses hope that a fair hearing will result and that courts will support the stand of the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitri Medvedev, who has voiced his opinion that the problems of citizens should be resolved at a domestic level.
In Russia: Victor Zhenkov, tel. +7 812 702 26 91
In USA: J.R. Brown, telephone +1 718 560 5600