2017-05-29 18:33:00

Jehovah Witnesses file appeal against court judgment outlawing organization in Russia

Moscow, May 29, Interfax - Russia's Jehovah Witnesses have challenged the Supreme Court judgment recognizing the organization extremist and ruling for its shutdown in Russia, their representative Yaroslav Sivulsky told Interfax.

"We have filed an appeal against the Supreme Court judgment banning 'the Jehovah Witnesses Management Center in Russia' activity in Russia and ruling for its shutdown," Sivulsky said on Monday.

The date for hearing the appeal is not set yet, he said.

"In the opinion of some of our lawyers, the appeal will be considered tentatively at the end of the coming summer," he also said.

The Jehovah Witnesses seek in their appeal to overturn the judgment recognizing the organization as extremist and closing it, as the judgment was passed groundlessly, because the Justice Ministry's arguments were convincingly rejected by lawyers of the organization, Sivulsky said.

"We are surprised with the Supreme Court's judgment, because it did not take into consideration the arguments forwarded by the [Jehovah Witnesses] defense lawyers and simply sided with the Justice Ministry, not bearing in mind that the factual plaintiff has not substantiated its lawsuit during the hearings in the Supreme Court. It was apparent for all who were present [at the court session]," Sivulsky said.

The Moscow Supreme Court has found Russia's Jehovah Witnesses an extremist organization and outlawed its activity in Russia in line with the Justice Ministry lawsuit from April 20.

According to the judgment, which is subjected to immediate execution from the time it was declared, the Jehovah Witnesses Management Center in Russia head organization and 395 of its regional branches have been shut down. The organization's property reverted to the government, the court judgment indicated.