2018-12-19 11:34:00

Kremlin to look at every individual case where members of religious groups face criminal prosecution

Moscow, December 19, Interfax - Every particular case where members of religious communities are prosecuted for extremism or terrorism will be scrutinized; no conceptual changes to existing laws have been planned, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

"In this context, every individual case should be looked into. This matter was mentioned [at the recent Human Rights Council meeting presided by Russian President Vladimir Putin], so individual cases will be looked at. There can be no conceptual solution to this issue, because there may be different cases, different situations, pros and cons," Peskov told reporters.

This is what Peskov said when asked whether there are any plans on amending the law with regard to the fact that members of various religious organizations, including the Jehovah's Witnesses (organization outlawed in Russia), are being prosecuted for terrorism and extremism.

This issue was raised at the meeting of the Russian presidential Human Rights Council (HRC) on December 11.

"We must accord equal treatment to members of all religions. It's true. But we also have to take into account the country and the society we live in. But this doesn't necessarily mean that we should regard members of religious communities as participants in some destructive, let alone terrorist, organizations," Putin said during the non-public part of the HRC meeting on December 11.

This is how the Russian leader reacted to what HRC member Yekaterina Schulmann said at the same meeting. She remarked that most organizations enlisted as those reportedly connected with extremism or terrorism related to the Jehovah's Witnesses.

"Of course, this is drivel. This needs to be carefully looked into. I absolutely agree with you in this regard. Maybe we can or even must, at some point, be far more liberal towards members of various religious sects, but we should remember that our society is not made up of religious sects only," Putin replied.

"This subject will be additionally looked at," Peskov said.