Voices from Russia

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Jehovah’s Witnesses Broke Law on Extremism: Ministry of Justice


On Thursday, at a session of the Supreme Court, a Ministry of Justice (Minyust RF) official said (providing documentary evidence):

Checks found that the organisation is in breach of the law on resistance to extremism. In particular, their religious literature forbids blood transfusion for its members in defiance of a doctor’s recommendation. The Jehovah’s Witnesses insist on their own exclusiveness, which also contradicts the law on resistance to extremist activity. Courts of law repeatedly warned the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but it took none of the required measures to eliminate the violations.

Minyust RF Demands Outlawing Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Minyust RF believes that we must outlaw the Jehovah’s Witnesses and confiscate its properties, including that of all 395 regional chapters. The Minyust RF representative said:

In view of the threat posed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Minyust RF asks [the court] to declare it extremist and ban its activity.

In its lawsuit, the Minyust RF mentioned a variety of violations, including those of the federal law on resistance to extremist activities. Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman Ivan Bilenko told us:

We find this affair very worrisome, because the decision may affect 175,000 believers. We’re prepared to press for our rights in any court.

On 12 October 2016, a court in Moscow warned the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre about extremist activities. If they failed to eliminate the exposed violations within the established deadlines, or if new evidence of extremist activities surfaced, the court would close them down. On 16 January 2017, the Moscow City Court upheld the warning about extremist activities.

6 April 2017



Thursday, 5 July 2012

Russia Plans To Bring Bout and Yaroshenko Home


Today, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) human rights envoy Konstantin Dolgov stated that Russia is seeking the return of pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko and businessman Viktor Bout, who are in American prisons. Viktor Bout, who owned a cargo shipping business, was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment this April, convicted of plotting against the USA, as he allegedly intended to sell weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Konstantin Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly plotting to smuggle cocaine to the USA. Both men plead their innocence. Dolgov found the sentences unfair, politically-motivated, and unwarranted, saying, “Both cases have politically-motivated aspects that we don’t like at all. The trials were conducted in violation of Bout’s and Yaroshenko’s rights, as Russia wasn’t officially briefed on Bout’s extradition from Thailand to the USA and on Yaroshenko’s arrest”.

Dolgov said that top officials are working on the matter, and Russia’s looking for any legal or political opportunity to bring the men home as soon as possible. Bout is set to appeal his verdict. Dolgov thought that the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons ratified by Russia five years ago could help in this case, and Moscow expects the USA to launch the extradition mechanisms. On 4 July, the Ministry of Justice stated that it would submit an extradition request to return Bout home as soon as it receives a respective appeal from Viktor or his lawyers. Dolgov pointed up that the USA’s responsible for health and life of the two Russians, saying, “Yaroshenko was placed to an isolation block for no reason, where he had to sleep on a concrete floor. He also was denied medical help, even though he has serious health problems”.

A number of Russian appeals helped to improve Yaroshenko’s detention conditions. Bout is now in USP Marion, a medium-security prison in Marion IL, instead of the previously-planned Colorado Supermax (USP Florence ADX). However, the Americans still put him in a special block for especially-dangerous criminals, although his lawyers and the judge claimed that such harsh measures are unnecessary. Dolgov added that both problems would be resolved; that Moscow wants its citizens to receive appropriate treatment to have their rights respected.

5 July 2012

Olga Sobolevskaya

Voice of Russia World Service


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