On Thursday, Russia’s Supreme Court has ruled the activities of the main centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia to be extremist, banning its work and seizing the property.
“The Supreme Court has ruled to sustain the claim of Russia’s Ministry of Justice and deem the ‘Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia’ organisation extremist, eliminate it and ban its activity in Russia,” the judge Yuri Ivanenko ruled.
Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Justice applied for an order to shut down the organisation’s national headquarters near St. Petersburg.
“The property of the ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organisation is to be confiscated to the state revenue,” the judge Yuri Ivanenko said.
Following the ruling, the representatives of the organisation said that the group will appeal against the court’s decision, stressing that the organisation is prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
The judicial ruling has not yet taken legal effect.
In March, the activities of the Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia – the largest Jehovah’s Witnesses group in the country, with some 175,000 adherents, were suspended by the authorities.
According to the Justice Ministry, the suspension came as a result of the group conducting “extremist activity”.