The pending legal action against members of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia filed by the Russian Ministry of Justice to liquidate the National Headquarters and three hundred and ninety-five chapters of local religious organization of Jehuvah’s Witnesses has been condemned by Helsinki, which is commission of Security and Cooperation in Europe with fifty-seven participating states in Europe including Russia.
The Russian Government is requesting the Supreme Court to effectively ban Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia from worshipping, claiming that they are members of extremist organization.
Reacting to this move by the Russian Government, Helsinki Commission Chairman, Senator Rogar Wicker, Co-Chairman, Chris Smith and Commissioner, Representatives Richard Hudson said it is wrong to apply flawed counter-terrorism laws to those who seek to practice their faith, maintaining that religious affiliation should never be a justification for persecution.
While urging the Russian Government to immediately drop the case, he said one hundred and seventy-five Jehovah’s Witnesses will face criminal prosecution for practicing their faith.
Meanwhile, the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses says prosecuting non-violent, law abiding citizens as if they are terrorists is clearly a misapplication of the anti-extremist laws, as such prosecution is completely based on false grounds.
The statement added that reading the Bible, singing and praying with fellow worshippers is clearly not criminal as claimed by the Russia Government.
The statements concludes by calling on all the over eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses to join in the global letter-writing campaign to motivate government officials to end the prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in other countries including Jordan, Korea and Malawi.