Emmanuel Thomas l Wednesday, April 19, 2017
MOSCOW, Russia – The Ministry of Justice today tendered 43 page documents before the Supreme Court hearing the case filed by Russia to liquidate Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation based on allegations that they are extremists.
The documents tendered were summaries of the aggressive actions taken by Russian authorities against the Witnesses over the past ten years.
During the review, the attorneys representing the Ministry of Justice could however not specify a legal basis for targeting the Administrative Center for liquidation or any extremist action on the part of either the Administrative Center or any Local Religious Organizations (LROs) used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
Yury Toporov, one of the attorneys for the Administrative Centre told the Court that the documents include awards and letters of appreciation received by the Administrative Center from the government, showing that the Administrative Center was previously recognized by authorities for its positive contributions to society for several years.
He told the court that the LROs make similar positive contributions in their communities and that several volumes of case materials document that the Ministry of Justice has been inspecting have been in use by Witnesses in Russia since 2008 and the Ministry has not found any extremist activity in the LROs, a point acknowledged by attorneys for the Ministry of Justice.
Meanwhile the case has continued to draw public attention with some 300 people gathered (some as early as 2:00 a.m.) for the fifth day of hearings by the Supreme Court.
The Court is expected to resume the hearing on April 20, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.