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Jehovah’s Witnesses broke law on extremism — Justice Ministry

April 06, 16:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In particular, the organization’s religious literature forbids blood transfusion for its members in defiance of the doctors’ recommendation, Russia’s Justice Ministry spokeswoman said

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© Sergei Smolsky/TASS

MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. Jehovah’s Witnesses violates the law on resistance to extremism when it prohibits its members from agreeing to blood transfusion even though it may be vital, the spokeswoman for Russia’s Justice Ministry said at a session of the Supreme Court on Thursday.

"Checks have found that the organization is in breach of the law on resistance to extremism. In particular, the organization’s religious literature forbids blood transfusion for its members in defiance of the doctors’ recommendation," the spokeswoman said, providing documentary evidence about one such case.

Also, the Justice Ministry’s official said Jehovah’s Witnesses insist on their own exclusiveness, which also contradicts the law on resistance to extremist activity.

"The religious organization Jehovah’s Witnesses has been repeatedly warned by courts of law, but it has taken no required measures to eliminate the violations," the Justice Ministry said.

Justice Ministry’s demand for banning Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Justice Ministry believes that Jehovah’s Witnesses must be outlawed and the organization’s properties, including those of the 395 regional chapters, confiscated. "In view of the threat posed by the organization Jehovah’s Witnesses the Justice Ministry asks for declaring it extremist and banning its activity," the Justice Ministry’s official said.

In its lawsuit the Justice Ministry mentions a variety of violations, including those of the the federal law on resistance to extremist activities. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ press-service has told TASS the organization "finds this affair very worrisome, because the decision may affect 175,000 believers." Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman Ivan Bilenko said the organization was prepared to press for its rights in any courts.

A court in Moscow on October 12, 2016 warned the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses over extremist activities. If the organization in question fails to eliminate the exposed violations within the established deadlines, or if new evidence of its extremist activities surfaces, it is to be closed down. The Moscow City Court on January 16 upheld the warning over extremist activities.

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