No Supreme Court review of ban on Jehovah's Witnesses magazines in Russia

Russian Legal Information Agency/October 29, 2012

Moscow - The Supreme Commercial Court will not be reviewing the lower court's ruling prohibiting the distribution of two Jehovah's Witnesses magazines, The Watchtower and Awake!, the court's spokesperson told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/ on Monday.

On April 6, 2010, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) annulled the permission to distribute the aforementioned magazines in Russia issued in 1997 by the state committee for press after some of the content was declared extremist.

In February, the Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals upheld the federal service's ban on publishing and distributing the magazines.

The court thus dismissed the appeal filed by Wachtturm Bibel- und Traktat-Gesellschaft, Deutscher Zweig, e.V, the legal entity which holds the license to the magazines, and the Jehovah's Witnesses administrative center responsible for their distribution.

The religious organization requested to reconsider the ruling, but the Supreme Commercial Court found no grounds for this.

The Roskomnadzor representative said that the organization is carrying outs its activity outside Russia and it is not subject to Russian laws regulating the enterprises activity.

Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization. Many traditional religions believe it to be a pseudo-Christian sect. Its management center in Russia is located in St. Petersburg. Its activities are forbidden in China, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and a number of other countries.

According to the organization, it had seven million members as of August 2009.

In June 2010, the European Court of Human Rights declared a Russian court's ruling to dissolve the Jehovah's Witnesses religious community in Moscow illegal and ordered Russia to pay 70,000 euros in compensation to the aggrieved party.

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