WASHINGTON, September 22. /TASS/. The United States is concerned over a sentence passed by a court in Russia’s Saratov against six members of the Jehovah's Witnesses extremist religious organization (outlawed in Russia), State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
"Deeply concerned by Russian court decision to jail six Jehovah's Witnesses in Saratov for peaceful religious practice. We urge #Russia to respect its citizens' rights to religious freedom and stop falsely accusing Jehovah's Witnesses of extremism," Ortagus wrote on her Twitter account.
On Friday, Leninsky district court in Saratov found six members of the Jehovah's Witnesses extremist organization guilty of inciting hatred or hostility as well as violating human dignity (Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code), sentencing them to between two and three years and six months behind bars.
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.