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Jehovah’s Witnesses say they have no suspension orders from Justice Ministry yet

March 24, 19:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The organization is ready to seek protection of its rights in all courts, according to its spokesperson

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© ITAR-TASS/Yevgeny Yepachintsev, archive

MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. The Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia has not received any orders from the Justice Ministry yet concerning the suspension of the organization’s activities, the center’s spokesman Ivan Bilenko told TASS.

"We have not received anything from the Justice Ministry so far. They (the Justice Ministry) published an announcement on their website saying that our activity has been suspended. No more than that. They say they have sent all documents by mail. We have not yet seen anything yet as to what exactly the Justice Ministry has suspended regarding our organization," he said.

Bilenko said "the organization finds this development very worrisome", because the decision may concern 175,000 believers.

He declared the organization’s intention to seek protection of its rights in all courts.

"Certainly we will be defending our rights in a court of law. We do hope that the Supreme Court’s decision will be in favor of Jehovah’s Witnesses. If the question is if we will appeal against the court’s future ruling, should we be recognized extremist, my answer is "yes," we will, there can be no doubts on that score," he added.

The Russian Ministry of Justice on 23 suspended the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia on the suspicion it indulges in extremist activities. On April 5 the Supreme Court will look into the Justice Ministry’s demand for declaring Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization, its elimination and prohibition of its activity in the country’s territory.

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