«Jehovah’s witnesses» against the Ministry of justice: when will come to an end

© Fotolia / robypangyБиблия Jehovah’s Witnesses. Archival photo«Jehovah’s witnesses» against the Ministry of justice: when will come to an end© Fotolia / robypangy

«This verdict could be the first step towards a ban «Jehovah’s Witnesses» on all territory of the Russian Federation», — wrote media in 2011. The world court condemned Kogalym Natalya Podlovic because she forbade the doctors to give blood to his 5-year-old son. The doctors tried to save him Polozhevichi, but did not have this authority.

The headers turned out to be prophetic. Six years later the Supreme court declared extremist activity «administrative center of Jehovah’s witnesses in Russia» and forbade its performance. Center «Jehovah’s Witnesses» may appeal the decision to the appellate court, in the case of a complaint the ban on organizations not yet come into force.

If the court’s decision will enter into force, the members of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» can be prosecuted for extremism under part 2 of article 282.2 of the criminal code «participation in the activities of religious associations, in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban of activities in connection with extremist activities». Thus, the followers of «Jehovah’s witnesses» could face imprisonment for a term of two to six years.

Along with the nerve centre of a liquidated 395 organizations within its structure. Eight of these offices were made responsible for extremism. «Jehovah’s witnesses» say that the court’s decision directly affects about 400 registered local religious organizations in Russia, as well as 2277 applies to all religious groups throughout the country, bringing together 175 of the thousands of followers of this religious movement.

In the process, it became known that the Ministry of justice, in particular, imposes «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in the guilt of the rejection of blood transfusion. The Department also believes that the activities of the «Jehovah’s Witnesses» creates a threat to the protection of the rights and interests of society and public safety. According to the decision of the Russian courts 95 brochures organizations recognized as extremist.

Bloody taboo

The story of Ann of Polozhevichi was not only widely discussed in the media. In 2010, doctors fought in court and on the operating table for a life 10-year-old Wani Gorlukovich from Moscow. He was hit by a car, needed a blood transfusion but the mother refused to consent to the operation. Doctors still have the right to transfuse blood to the boy, but, alas, so precious in such cases, time was lost.

«I think he didn’t die because of this, but because of severe traumatic brain injury. It is unlikely it could save,» — said Lyudmila, Arlukowicz.

«Jehovah’s witnesses» are convinced that the «clear command» not to transfuse blood contained in the Bible. As argument they result, for example, the following quotation from the old Testament book of Genesis: «Only flesh with its soul, its blood, shall ye not eat».

It turns out that the ban on blood transfusions «Jehovah’s Witnesses» has not always existed. In 1945, it only began to condemn, although 20 years earlier it was the opposite — a blood transfusion was encouraged by the leadership of the organization. Only in 1961 donation tabourets. For it adept «Jehovah’s Witnesses» could face expulsion from the sect.

«If a citizen refuses a medical procedure of their own free will, then this one. But if the organization does not (in this case it is), then that’s different. Especially scary thing when it comes to children, it is obvious that the choice is made by sect. The life of a child,» — said RIA Novosti President of the Russian Association of centers for study of religions and sects (RACERS), member of the expert Council for conducting state religious expertise under the justice Ministry Alexander Dvorkin.

What is extremism

According to sectoid Dvorkin, «Jehovah’s Witnesses is the prohibition to vote and to be elected. «There is also a ban on military service, ban on celebration of all the holidays — public, personal, social, religious, etc. — ban on greeting anthem and flag of their country,» he added.

The ban on voting and election he considers serious. After all, according to him, this means that the organization «does not recognize the constitutional order of the country.»

The state, as noted by Dworkin, has no right to determine how and what to believe, it is not included in the scope of his duties. In the case of the court’s decision we are not talking about banning faith, as they say themselves Jehovah’s witnesses, the status of religious organizations. «In other words — can there be organization in the country that actually does not recognize its constitutional order. In any case, whether such it to receive privileged tax-exempt status?» — asks the expert.

In turn, the member of the expert Council for conducting state religious expertise at the Ministry of justice Roman Silantyev notes that there were cases when the adepts of the sect don’t just do not vote, «but still went on election day and told to vote». In addition, the organization, in his opinion, very aggressive towards representatives of other religious trends.

«Extremist activity can be of two types directed outward and inward. Destructive organization can mock his own members and to call for hostile action against other people. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were both of such activities», — said Silantyev.

The lawsuit is not over

Almost immediately after the verdict, the representatives of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» said they wanted to appeal the court decision. In the process, lawyers for the organization argued that, for example, refusal of blood transfusion is not extremism — such an act in the law on combating extremist activity no. Believers have already started to prepare the appeal, which must be considered by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation within one month. But the next stage is quite well known.

«If they lose in the Presidium of the Supreme court, then they go to the European court of human rights (ECHR) and they will almost certainly win, because the reasons for the ban just miserable,» says a member of the presidential Council on civil society development and human rights, Director of the Information analytical center «Sova» Alexander Verkhovsky.

The prohibitions of the armed forces, according to the expert, was submitted for the following reason: «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in their creed, in their sermons, in their texts claim that their faith is better than all, it is correct and the others wrong. If this is translated into the language of Russian law, it turns out that we are talking about the proclamation of religious superiority and is a direct path to religious hatred.

However, the ECHR may find otherwise, precedents. Apparently, news reports from the courtroom about the fate of Jehovah’s witnesses in Russia will long to shake the information space.


1 Comment on "«Jehovah’s witnesses» against the Ministry of justice: when will come to an end"

  1. HAL HUNTER | 21.04.2017 at 18:25 |

    A five year old with traumatic brain injury was going to die, but doctor wanted to try a blood transfusion even though the parents were were frightened by how foreign blood would affect his extremely weak state.
    «I think he didn’t die because of this, but because of severe traumatic brain injury. It is unlikely it could save,» — said Lyudmila, Arlukowicz.

    Really? The parents were just trying to keep him comfortable. The doctors couldn’t save his life. The best way to cause a systemic infection is a blood transfusion.

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