Russian on Thursday has banned the Christian sect Jehovah’s Witnesses after the Supreme Court ruled the Christian sect to be an “extremist” group. Court ruled that the group must be disband and hand over all property to the state.
“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 was quoted by The Independent.
“The property of the Jehovah's Witnesses organisation is to be confiscated to the state revenue,” he added.
The court ruling has confirmed the Justice Ministry’s last month order that the sect be “liquidated”.
A lawyer for the justice ministry, Svetlana Borisova, told the court adherents “pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security”. “They represent a threat to the rights of the people, to public order and public safety,” Russian news agencies quoted Borisova as saying.
The religious movement, which has 395 centres across Russia, has vowed to appeal the decision within 30 days.
“We will do everything possible,” Sergei Cherepanov, a Jehovah's Witnesses representative, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. The group has over 170,000 worshippers in Russia.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are known for door-to-door preaching and handing out literature, reject some of mainstream Christianity's core beliefs. There are more than eight million Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide.
Religious life in Russia is dominated by the Orthodox Church, which exerts considerable political influence and enjoys the support of President Vladimir Putin. Some Orthodox scholars view Jehovah's Witnesses as a ‘totalitarian sect’, Reuters reported.