Jehovah’s Witnesses turn to Council of Europe over Russia’s refusal to execute ECHR ruling
MOSCOW, May 22 (RAPSI) – The Jehovah’s Witnesses organization banned in Russia as extremist has filed a complaint with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe over Moscow’s refusal to implement a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
A copy of the application has been published on the website of the Council of Europe.
In March 2004, the Golovinsky District Court has granted prosecutors motion seeking to liquidate Jehovah’s Witnesses in Moscow (Moscow LRO). Following that, the religious organization lodged a complaint with ECHR. In June 2010, ECHR ruled in favor of applicants and ordered Russia to pay them € 20,000 in compensation and €50,000 in respect of costs and expense.
The Russian government has refused “to implement the above-mentioned judgment,” according to the application filed with the Council of Europe.
“The situation is now critical. On April 20, 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia granted the application of the Ministry of Justice of Russia and banned Jehovah’s Witnesses nationwide and ordered the liquidation of their national legal entity, the Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia (Administrative Centre), and 395 local religious organizations (LROs) of Jehovah’s Witnesses, including the Moscow LRO. This is now the second time the applicant organization has been liquidated”, the complaint signed by lawyer John M. Burns reads.
The Supreme Court of Russia banned Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist organization in April 2017.
The Justice Ministry said that violations of the law “On Combatting Extremism” had been revealed during inspection conducted in the organization. The Prosecutor General’s Office’s notice concerning inadmissibility of carrying out extremist activities by Jehovah's Witnesses has taken effect, the Ministry said.
Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization has had many legal problems in Russia. Since 2009, 95 materials distributed by the organization in the country have been declared extremist and 8 Jehovah's Witnesses’ branches have been liquidated.
Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization based in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2004 several branches and chapters of the organization were banned and shut down in various regions of Russia.