2017-04-05 13:34:00

Russian Supreme Court rejects Jehovah Witnesses' counterclaim seeking their recognition as victims of political repression

Moscow, April 5, Interfax - The Russian Supreme Court, having heard the parties' arguments, decided not to accept the counterclaim filed by Russia's Jehovah Witnesses seeking recognition of their organization as a victim of political repression.

"Decline to accept the claim. Court jurisdiction roles do not envisage the acceptance of a counterclaim. At the same time, we will exercise judicial control over the legality of the work of the Justice Ministry on the basis of the claimant's written objections," the judge said. A representative of the organization earlier said in court: "We are asking to hear our counterclaim seeking the recognition of the Russian religious organization Jehovah Witnesses as a victim of political repression and recognize the political persecution and the actions taken by the Justice Ministry on us as illegal."

He had asked for the organization's claim to be heard together with the Justice Ministry's claim.

The Russian Supreme Court on Wednesday is considering the issue of recognizing Russia's Jehovah Witnesses as an extremist organization and banning its activities on the territory of Russia under an administrative lawsuit filed by the Russian Justice Ministry.

The religious organization filed the claim on March 15, when the work of the Jehovah Witnesses was suspended for extremist activities on the orders of the Justice Ministry until the hearing of the lawsuit in the Supreme Court.