Russia's Supreme Court is due to resume considering a total ban on Jehovah's Witness activity on 12 April. Already police in several towns have disrupted their worship. A Moscow community's rental of a hall to mark their main annual commemoration was cancelled after an FSB visit.
As Jehovah's Witnesses await a verdict at Russia's Supreme Court
in Moscow on whether they will be banned across the country, their communities
are already feeling the effects of the Justice Ministry's actions. They have
reported intimidation, harassment, and the disruption of worship by law
enforcement agents in several towns as a result of the Justice Ministry's 15
March order summarily suspending most of their activities. One community found
that its contract on a rented hall in Moscow had been cancelled.
The harassment comes as hearings in the Justice Ministry's attempt to liquidate the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre are underway in the Supreme Court. After three days of hearings between 5 and 7 April, Judge Yury Ivanenko adjourned proceedings until 10.00am Moscow time on 12 April. This is the day after the Jehovah's Witnesses main annual commemoration – the Memorial of Christ's Death – on 11 April.
Liquidation, banning suit
The Justice Ministry lodged its suit at the Supreme Court on 15 March, asking that the Administrative Centre be declared an extremist organisation, that it be liquidated, and that all its activities be banned.
On the same day, the Ministry also issued an Order suspending most Jehovah's Witness activities, including all public meetings and the Administrative Centre's financial transactions.
What brings harm to JWs is not their worship, but their human teaching on blood transfusion: “Jehovah’s Witnesses break the law forbidding “extremism” when its members refuse blood transfusions, Russia’s Justice Ministry said Thursday at a Supreme Court hearing on the question of banning the religious group in the country.”
Hopes are on the wane.
April 6, 2017: “MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's Supreme Court has upheld the decision of a Russian city to ban Jehovah's Witnesses as an extremist group. The decision Thursday came amid proceedings on a Justice Ministry suit to ban the religious organization in Russia altogether.