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Video: Review of the trial to liquidate Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia


It took the Russian Supreme Court six days to rule on the Justice Ministry's lawsuit to liquidate and ban all 396 registered Jehovah's Witnesses organizations in Russia.

"When the judge rejected one petition after another, it seemed that everything, the issue was already a foregone conclusion," says Yaroslav Sivulsky, a member of the steering committee of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. The lawyers filed various petitions for admission to participate in the case of representatives of local organizations, for the involvement of experts, for the study of various documents, but the judge's words sounded again and again in the courtroom: "The court, having listened to the opinion of the persons participating in the case, determined: to refuse to satisfy the petition."

Yaroslav Sivulsky: "In general, about seventeen petitions were rejected and only one was granted by the court. We did not see any evidence in favor of the Justice Department's claim. To clarifying questions, a representative of the Ministry of Justice often said: "I don't know," "I don't know."

Fragment of the dialogue between the court and the representative of the Ministry of Justice (from the transcript of the trial). Judge Ivanenko: "You were preparing for the trial..." - "Yes." - "Surely you know what kind of threat we are talking about?" - "Now I find it difficult to answer."

Fragment of the dialogue between lawyer Zhenkov and a representative of the Ministry of Justice. Zhenkov: "Tell me, are there any cases of violations of public order by Jehovah's Witnesses under the influence of the literature of Jehovah's Witnesses read? Do you have such facts?" - "No, I do not have such facts."

Fragment of the dialogue between the lawyer Omelchenko and the representative of the Ministry of Justice. Omelchenko: "Please name which local religious organization spent what amount and on what type of extremist activity" - "We do not check local religious organizations." - "That is, you do not have such information?" - "No."

8 witnesses were questioned in court, including 4 witnesses from the plaintiff's side. "They failed to cite a single fact confirming the extremist activities of Jehovah's Witnesses," says Yaroslav Sivulsky.

Under the sights of dozens of cameras, Judge Yuriy Ivanenko announced the verdict: "The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation decided to satisfy the administrative claim of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation ..." And on the same day, unknown persons threw stones at the worship building of Jehovah's Witnesses in St. Petersburg. A similar development of events was predicted during the pleadings by the representative of the defendant, Maxim Novakov: "From this status of 'extremists' will follow the widespread use of violence against Jehovah's Witnesses."

The decision of the Supreme Court, which caused a wide international outcry, will be appealed.