Russia’s top court brands Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremists

Jehovahs Witnesses gathered last month in a house in the village of Vorokhobino, north of Moscow, where they meet for services. Credit James Hill for The New York Times

Russia’s Supreme Court on Thursday banned Jehovah’s Witnesses from operating in Russian territory, declaring the Christian sect an extremist organization. The designation lumps Jehovah’s Witnesses, who reject violence, into the same category as the Islamic State. The ruling upheld an order to “liquidate” the denomination issued last month by Russia’s Justice Ministry. A lawyer for the group said it would appeal in Russia and, if necessary, to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. “We consider this decision an act of political repression that is impermissible in contemporary Russia,” he said.

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