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Putin’s directive on Jehovah's Witnesses imminent, Kremlin says

February 07, 13:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In 2017 the Russian Justice Ministry included the organization Jehovah’s Witnesses and its 395 local religious branches to the list of organizations outlawed in the country

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© Alexander Demianchuk/TASS

MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon give instructions after the December meeting with members of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights and one of them concerns Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious organization outlawed in Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

The issue will be considered with due regard to the Russian court’s ruling on banning the organization in the country, Peskov said. "This issue is challenging, but nevertheless it remains on the agenda," he noted.

Commenting on a question if it’s of common sense to call the followers of Jehovah's Witnesses "extremists," Peskov noted that "the activity of this religious organization is illegal and this is a priority in defining this situation."

At the meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights with the president in December 2018, several human rights activists voiced complaints over persecution against Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Russian president noted that Jehovah’s Witnesses are also Christians and he did not understand why they were persecuted.

On Wednesday, a court in Oryol found Danish citizen Dennis Christensen guilty of launching the activity of a Jehovah's Witnesses branch in the Russian city and sentenced him to six years in prison. The Danish branch of Amnesty International called Christensen a prisoner of conscience and slammed the judicial process a political persecution.

Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international religious organization that supports offbeat views on the essence of the Christian faith and provides special interpretations of many commonly accepted notions.

In August 2017, the Russian Justice Ministry included the organization Jehovah’s Witnesses and its 395 local religious branches to the list of organizations outlawed in the country. The Russian Supreme Court satisfied the claim of the Justice Ministry to shut down the organization on April 20, 2017.

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