Watchtower VS FECRIS in Gemany: judgment

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    A text by Mr. Massimo Introvigne, on the website, (Cult apologists linked to Cesnur) pro-Jehovah's Witnesses author, indicating that German Jehovah's Witnesses won a case against FECRIS (an anti-cult organization). The latter would be condemned, among other things, for elements affirmed during a conference in Sofia, Bulgaria. In fact, the Witnesses have been found guilty of many particularly serious matters, including human rights violations. Here are the comments translated into English by an informant of the judgment - Germany Wt / Fecris on which the WT did not appeal. Consequently the judgment is final.

    Translated with Google translate:

    The German Jehovah's Witnesses had sued FECRIS before the Hamburg Court ( Landgericht Hamburg) to request the removal of several quotes from the German-language version concerning various contributions from speakers at several conferences.

    By judgment of November 27, 2020 (file n ° 324 0 434/18) which today has the force of res judicata after the Jehovah's Witnesses renounced the appeal they had lodged, the Tribunal dismissed the Witnesses of Jehovah on the points that FECRIS considers essential.

    FECRIS has therefore redacted from the German version of its site (the only one concerned by this judgment), the comments of the speakers on which it succumbs, comments that had been posted online during various conferences (Brussels 2017, Sofia 2016, article “ sects and European values ” 2015, Brussels 2014, Perpignan 2012, Saint-Petersburg 2009).

    Several of the reasons for this judgment provide details about the points on which the German Jehovah's Witnesses are unsuccessful in their request .

    · At the request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1 : the speaker said “ The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is characterized by aggressive hostility towards society and the state. "

    The German judge considers that “ it is not legally contestable that the mere fact that the complainant (the German organization of Jehovah's Witnesses ) has constantly refrained from participating in public political life is considered an aggressive alienation from society and the state ”. The judge continues: " in addition, the many indisputable behaviors prescribed to members must be taken into account, such as the recommendation to (not) maintain contact with former members, the refusal of various celebrations and blood transfusions "

    The assertion that " The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is characterized by aggressive hostility towards society and the state " is therefore not considered defamatory.

    · At the request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.4 : the speaker said : “ The followers of this sect commit crimes with religious motives. "

    On this point the judge considers that “ it is permissible to qualify Jehovah's Witnesses as such since they have undoubtedly encouraged, for example, to refuse medically indicated blood transfusions for their children, which can be considered as a crime of in a legally irreproachable manner . "

    Thus the Hamburg court recognizes that it is not abusive to qualify as criminal the refusal to transfuse a child. This is obvious that should be emphasized !

    · At the request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.6 : A Russian speaker described “ the harassment of which Russian Jehovah's Witnesses claimed to be victims by the government as a vulgar propaganda stunt. "

    The judge dismissed the German Jehovah's Witnesses, applicants, considering that they were not concerned by what was happening in Russia.

    · At the request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.7 : One speaker asserted that the assemblies of Jehovah's Witnesses are controlled by male members of the movement qualified as supervisors installed at the regional level.

    On this point the judge dismisses the German Jehovah's Witnesses since " it is easy to see that these controllers (men) have powers granted by the organization to exercise their monitoring function ".

    · At the request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.8 : It was argued that “ a TJ woman can be reprimanded for dressing in an outfit deemed indecent by the committee of elders and therefore being tried by the judgment committee. "

    The judge considers that this “ statement of fact ” is not contested by Jehovah's Witnesses and that the choice of allegedly inappropriate clothing can effectively lead to recourse to an internal legal commission . "

    · At the request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.11 : One speaker asserted that “ the wife is an accessory which must be acceptable to her husband and to the assembly. She owes him submission even to sexual relations, because she has no power over her own body ”.

    The judge considers that this is the expression of an opinion , and that it is founded insofar as " in the writings of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses the woman is regarded as" a weaker vessel ”than the man who must“ take into account the physical and mental nature of the woman and her mood swings ” .

    The judge also notes that “ Jehovah's Witnesses also require that a woman recognize her husband as the head, that is to say the person called by God to settle the contentious issues. " It is indisputable that the plaintiff (Jehovah's Witnesses) asserts in her writings that a woman has no power over her body ."

    The statement that " the wife is an accessory which must be acceptable to her husband and to the assembly " is not considered defamatory .

    · At the request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.18 : " The elders never explain what happened to the neighboring Assemblies, which allows the pedophile to continue ". The judge considers that this is the expression of an opinion , specifying that " the simple fact ( ... ) that the surrounding assemblies are not informed can lead to the conclusion that pedophiles have thus any facility to commit de new offenses ”.

    · Application of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.22 : the speaker had said that " 1 335 139 members had left the movement or became inactive " . The judge considers that this is a well-founded statement of fact since " everyone can retain that in addition to defections there are members who simply become inactive " .

    · Request from Jehovah's Witnesses 1.23 : the speaker said that " any Jehovah's Witness who leaves the movement for reasons of conscience does so with pain, knowing that he is qualified as a heretic ... "

    The judge considers, in order to reject the request of Jehovah's Witnesses, that it is the expression of an opinion, moreover weighted and that " the term of heretic is not subject to a fixed definition ".

    · Request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.24 : the speaker had said : “ in reality exclusion by movement occurs for many different reasons (…) due to the hypothesis of a blood transfusion. "

    The judge considers that this is the expression of an opinion and that the Jehovah's Witnesses by specifying in their arguments " that a member is supposed to have left the religious community after having agreed to be transfused. he does not “ regret ” it, de facto amounts to exclusion. "Precisely the same judge that " the judgment of 24 March 2005 - 12/01 and 5B BV ERWG decision of 1 st February 2006 - 7B 80/05, cited by Jehovah's Witnesses state that if parents decide to give their consent to a transfusion is considered a withdrawal from the community ”.

    · Request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.25 : the speaker had said : " let us be clear : Jehovah's Witnesses ... are part of a movement ... which does not respect human rights ... "

    The judge considers that this is an expression of opinion and that " even taking into account the decisions cited in the recognition procedure (recognition of German Jehovah's Witnesses as a legal person under public law) ", the elements allowing to retain the violation of human rights are present.

    On this point of the non-respect of human rights by Jehovah's Witnesses, the motivation of the judge deserves to be reported in full : “ according to the undisputed argument of the defendant (FECRIS), it emerges from the writings of the applicant organization (German Jehovah's Witnesses) that the "non-witnesses" belong to the world of evil, that they are the work of Satan and condemned to destruction. Thus people who do not belong to the faith of the complainant are classified as fundamentally " bad " and degraded. As we have already explained, continues the judge, it must also be assumed that, according to the complainant's conception, women must be subordinate to their husbands and are not allowed to occupy certain positions within the congregation… It is It is also indisputable that marriages with a non-Witness are discouraged and that homosexuality and transsexuality are strictly prohibited. The fundamental rejection of blood transfusions can even be seen as a disregard for basic human rights, as it can infringe a human being's right to life. In addition , continues the judge, it is also indisputable that the right to vote is not respected insofar as Jehovah's Witnesses are required to remain politically neutral and not to participate in national elections.

    After careful consideration , underlines the judge, to consider that the Witnesses of Jehovah do not respect the human rights is an opinion which the court accepts and the Witnesses of Jehovah are rejected of their request ” .

    · Request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.26 : the speaker had said : " therefore, any person who decides in his heart and conscience to maintain… family relations with an excluded former member risks himself being punished " .

    The judge considers that this is the expression of an admissible opinion : “ Jehovah's Witnesses undoubtedly teach that all contact with former members, including parents, must be avoided. In addition, behaviors contrary to the teachings can be sanctioned by the elders ... if there is an inappropriate contact of a member with a parent who no longer belongs to the community. (Internal) legal action can be taken against the member if he maintains " a constant spiritual fellowship with the excluded person " or if he openly criticizes the withdrawal from the community.

    And the judge continued : " It is permissible to state that each member runs the risk ... of seeing his behavior sanctioned, especially since the member in question can probably not completely exclude such a risk unless he has no contact with a person who has left the territory, any contact that could be considered “ abusive ” .

    · Request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.27 : the speaker had said : " whether you are expelled or whether you have left of your own free will, you are an" apostate ".

    The judge considered that this was the expression of an admissible opinion and held that in order to understand the declaration, it was necessary to retain the ordinary use of the term apostate and that it was indisputable that, in certain circumstances, a a former member who left the organization is considered by Jehovah's Witnesses to be a “ renegade ”.

    · Request of Jehovah's Witnesses 1.30 and 1.31 : the speaker had said : " this organization is subversive, because it considers the State as an enemy, inspired by the devil, which must be fought until a final conflict ... they (the Jehovah's Witnesses) try to undermine the loyalty of the citizens, resulting in the dissolution of the state itself ” .

    The judge considers that this is the expression of an admissible opinion for the two citations. The court underlines that " the reader does not suppose that the fight against the State must be carried out by a positive action, since in this regard, an abolition of the State, also possible by a passive behavior, is included in the subject. … The tribunal specifies that it is indisputable that the complainant organization encourages its members, for example, to remain politically neutral and not to participate in national elections. "


    The Hamburg court therefore sheds light which confirms the position of FECRIS, as well as that of each of the associations that help victims of sects that it federates, in the action carried out to support victims of the organization of Jehovah's witnesses. This judicial decision parallels other actions currently carried out by victims against Jehovah's Witnesses in several countries.

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