February 27, 2002
The hearing began at 10 a.m. with the submissions of the defense attorney, Galina Krylova. She forthwith declared that the prosecutor’s application should be dismissed, and asked the court to terminate this case as it is beyond the authority of courts of general jurisdiction to conduct doctrinal debates. In the attorney’s opinion, not only are Jehovah’s Witnesses and their doctrines on trial, but so are “legal regulations and sound reasoning. On trial is the history that Russia would have seemingly already experienced and should have left behind long ago in the past.”
By comparing the religious practice of major religions—Buddhism, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Islam—with all the charges in the prosecutor’s application, Attorney Krylova came to the following conclusion: “If the prosecutor applied her religious discrimination or the law she has devised not solely to Jehovah’s Witnesses, then all other religious organizations would be nonexistent in the legal vacuum of our prosecutor’s office.”
Attorney Krylova pointed to the lack of a legal basis for this trial and referred to what legal specialists in this field had to say about this trial: “At the end of the XX century, Moscow has taken not violations of the law to court, but dogma.”—Yu.I. Stetsovskiy, Pravo na svobodu... P. 469.
Ending her submission, the defense attorney tried to shed light on the following questions: Who is inciting religious discrimination? Who is infringing citizen rights? “The prosecutor claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses are, but I say that it is the prosecutor and the representative of the registering agency,” answered the attorney. She added specific articles of the Constitution guaranteeing rights and freedoms that have already been violated by the prosecutor during the trial. For example: equality of religious associations before the law and the court; the right to protect one’s dignity; to personal inviolability; to personal and family secrets; to choose one’s place to stay and reside; to freedom of thought and speech; to association; to freely choose one’s occupation; to care for children and their upbringing.