By James, Michael Igiri
Russian’s Supreme Court yesterday banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The court held that it is
an “extremist” organisation and directed it to hand over all its property to the state.
Russian Interfax News Agency quoted Sergei Cherepanov, a Jehovah’s Witnesses representative, as saying that the group will appeal the decision in the European Court of Human Rights.
According to him, the decision of the country’s apex court to slam such a ban on the group was in violation of their fundamental human right of assembly, and said, “we will do everything possible,” to have this reversed.
Russian authorities have put several of the group’s publications on a list of banned extremists’ literature and prosecutors have long cast it as an organisation that destroys families, fosters hatred and threatens lives- an opinion which the leadership of the group has repeatedly dismissed as untrue and as a misrepresentation of their organisation.
The group, a United States based non-Trinitarian Christian denomination known for its door- to-door preaching and rejection of military service and blood transfusions said this description is false.
The religious organisation has expanded around the world and has about eight million active followers. It has faced court proceedings in several countries, mostly over its pacifism and rejection of blood transfusions.
Although Russia has been outspoken in portraying it as an extremist cult, the group’s branch, based near St Petersburg, has regularly rejected this allegation saying it is a peaceful organisation whose philosophy of none involvement in military matters most exemplifies their commitment and belief in a peaceful, egalitarian and serene world.