REGIONAL DEPUTIES ASK FOR BANNING OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
by Ivan Snegov
The Sakhalin provincial duma supported the appeal of the Arkhangelsk provincial assembly of deputies to the prosecutor general’s office and the Ministry of Justice for the prohibition of the international religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. The Sakhalin deputies supported the appeal of colleagues that the “number of Witnesses is growing at threatening rates and their missionary activity resembles extremism, if one judges by news media and court decisions.”
This quotation contradicts another fact: the deputies appealed to Yury Chaika and Alexander Konovalov after the prosecutor’s office of Arkhangelsk province lost to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in provincial court. The latter refused to liquidate a local cell since the books found in the possession of the leader did not have his fingerprints. “It is necessary not simply to appeal but to apply the federal law on universal liquidation,” the chairman of the provincial assembly’s Committee on Youth policy and Athletics, Ekaterina Pozdeeva, thinks. “We are talking about the safety of the country,” says her colleague Alexander Diatlov, “and about the threat to sovereignty, since Jehovists do not serve in the army and do not participate in elections.
Receiving information from Jehovah’s Witnesses is difficult these days—the organization’s website is not working. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 September 2016)
DEPUTIES WANT TO BAN JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES BECAUSE OF THEIR RAPID GROWTH
The Sakhalin provincial duma supported an appeal by their colleagues from the Arkhangelsk provincial assembly for banning the religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. The deputies saw the reason for the ban not in the violation of any law but in the fact that “the number of Witnesses is growing at threatening rates.”
Amazement is provoked by a whole series of facts.
It should be recalled that in and of itself the appeal of the deputies of Arkhangelsk contradicts not only the legislation of the Russian federation but even more the fundamental law, the constitution of the RF. Both the legislation and the constitution of the RF guarantee freedom of conscience and freedom of religious confession, including the right to profess individually or jointly with others any religion or not to profess any and to freely choose, hold, and disseminate religious and other convictions and to act in accordance with them. It provokes regret that such illegal calls are supported by deputies of other provinces and regions. For example, the Sakhalin deputies, without examining, supported the appeal of their Arkhangelsk colleagues aimed against the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The prosecutor’s office of Arkhangelsk province has already tried to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses in provincial court. But it lost the case in court. The provincial court refused to liquidate the local religious organization. In and of itself this fact showed once again that Jehovah’s Witnesses are law-abiding citizens and do not commit any illegal actions. The initiator of the prohibition of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the chairman of the provincial assembly’s Committee for Youth Policy and Athletics, Ekaterina Pozdeeva, urges the adoption of a federal law for a universal prohibition of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But in essence such calls are unconstitutional since they violate the constitution of the RF.
Another initiator of the ban of Jehovah’s Witnesses, deputy Alexander Diatlov, tried to convince everyone that Jehovah’ Witnesses represent “a threat to the safety of the country,” because they do not participate in elections. But according to information of some news media, the statistics of recent elections have shown that almost 50% of the population of the RF did not participate in elections. Thus following A. Diatlov’s logic, do all these people represent “a threat to the safety of the country” and should they be considered extremists? In addition, A. Diatlov maintans that “receiving information from Jehovah’s Witnesses is difficult these days—the organization’s website is not working.”
Actually, receiving information about Jehovah’s Witnesses and from Jehovah’s Witnesses is very simple. Visit the official information website of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia at http://www.jw-russia.org.
Jehovah’s Witnesses still hope for unprejudiced and just treatment on the part of representatives of authority. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 September 2016)
Prosecutor disputes decision favoring Arkhangelsk Jehovah’s Witnesses
June 3, 2016
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