Support The Moscow Times!

Jehovah’s Witnesses Appeal Russia's 'Extremist' Label

Mikey / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have lodged an appeal with Russia's Supreme Court after being added to an "extremist" registry alongside banned terrorist organizations, the court told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

Russia’s Justice Ministry added the religious group to a registry of banned organizations last month after the Supreme Court ruled in April to formally ban the group.

The judgement forced 396 registered Jehovah’s Witnesses branches across Russia to dissolve.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses said on their website on Monday that the Supreme Court has three months to consider the appeal.

An annual U.S. report on religious freedom cited Russia’s treatment of the Jehovah’s Witnesses among reasons for labeling it a “country of particular concern.”

The State Department’s report said the Jehovah’s Witnesses rights to religious freedom are “eliminated thoroughly, and yet ‘legally’ under Russian law.”

The UN’s anti-discrimination panel called Russia’s “extremist” label “vague and broad,” lacking clear and precise criteria for legal classification.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.