Jehovah’s Witnesses take Russia ban to European Court

Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses have tabled an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg after their country’s Supreme Court upheld a ban on all their “illegal activities”.

“The Supreme Court has violated not just the norms of Russian legislation, but also international norms – this is why we are appealing”, Viktor Zhenkov, a lawyer for the Witnesses’ Administrative Centre, told Russia’s Interfax news agency. “The provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights were clearly breached in this case, since not a single person has decided to engage in illegal activities or been affected by them”.

The lawyer was speaking after the Court’s rejection of an appeal against its April judgment, branding the Jehovah’s Witnesses an “extremist organisation” and authorising seizure of their properties across Russia. Meanwhile, another legal representative said the ban had been “inexplicable and dangerous for ordinary believers”, and had already led to several detentions, as well as job dismissals and the torching of private homes.

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