RUSSIA: (6 April 2017) Day 2 - Jehovah's Witnesses hearing under way
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The judge asks the representative of the Ministry of Justice: if there is no mention of Jehovah's Witnesses, what does this document have to do with this case.
The judge shall postpone the determination of the attachment of this document.
Lawyer Zhenkov begins to ask questions to the representative of the Ministry of Justice. The first question is: does the Justice Ministry have any information about any violations that were committed under the influence of the literature of Jehovah's Witnesses that was submitted to the FSEM. Answer from the Ministry's representative: "No, we do not have such information."
Judge has deferred the decision on the admissability of documents relating to blood issues and blood related court cases.
Lawyers are unsuccessfully trying to find out exactly what human rights violations are meant.
Lawyer are trying to clarify the point "the failure to take effective measures to prevent extremist activity." He asked whether the Ministry of Justice knew about the timely letters sent by the center of Jehovah's Witnesses to all MROs about the inclusion of certain materials in the FSEM? The Ministry of Justice knows. The next question: what, in the opinion of the Ministry, would be an effective measure? The Ministry of Justice does not know the exact answer to this question. The lawyer asks the representative of the Ministry of Justice whether there is such a criterion of extremist activity as inaction. It's obvious to everyone that there is no such criterion.
Zhenkov asks whether the Ministry of Justice knows that materials that are considered extremist constitute 0.1% of the entire literature of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Ministry of Justice does not know this. Is it known to the Ministry of Justice that the Rostov Regional Court, which recognized 34 publications of Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist, at the same time refused to recognize the extremist dozens of others.4:19
Zhenkov clarifies whether it is known to the Ministry of Justice that literature has not been imported to Russia for two years. The Ministry of Justice knows this. Then there is a natural question, why exactly in 2017 the Ministry of Justice raised the issue of liquidation. The Ministry of Justice can not provide facts confirming that during the last 12 months the Management Center distributed "extremist" literature.
The Ministry of Justice informs that the date of entering materials into this list is not specified in the FEMC.
The judge asks the representative of the Ministry whether it is possible to file claims of the religious organization, as well as customs, for the fact that materials imported into the country that in the future will be considered extremist? How to know in advance what material will be included in the FEMC. The representative of the Ministry of Justice: no way, just contact the FSEM.
I get the impression that the JW lawyers have just presented an argument that explains that the JW head office has taken measures to prevent extremist activity because they warned the congregations about the list of extremist publications and that there were Watchtower and JW literature on it.
The representative of the defendant Yuri Toporov is trying to find out what the Ministry of Justice puts into the concept of "the structural subdivision of the world organization of Jehovah's Witnesses". What is a "world organization"? Is this some sort of legal entity? The Ministry of Justice believes that no, it is a question of a certain canonical concept. What is a "structural unit"? Is this a legal concept? No, rather a canonical connection. The next question is: in what sense then does the Ministry of Justice use this term in relation to the LRO, saying that they are "structural subdivisions of the Management Center"? In canonical or legal? The representative of the Ministry of Justice believes that this is the same.
Toporov tries to find out, whether under the law on extremism can be taken out to "structural division" without the organization itself. The Ministry of Justice is forced to admit that a warning must be issued to the entire organization.
The logical question of Toporov: if a warning was issued to a local religious organization and not issued to the Management Center, then how can this local organization be the "structural unit" of the center? No way.
The Ministry of Justice now believes that issuing a warning to the "structural unit" is not prohibited by law, which means that the prosecutor's office could do it. What is not forbidden is allowed. The judge clarifies with the representative of the Ministry, were any of the notifications of the religious organization (the management center) then directed at least? There is no information that such notifications are sent.
A new question from Toporov to the Ministry of Justice. Does the law on combating extremism provide for the possibility of liquidating a "structural unit" without liquidating the organization itself? The representative of the Ministry of Justice: "According to your interpretation, does not provide". The judge asks the plaintiff to accept the answer of the ministry in this form.
Arguments over the structure of the JW religion in relation to legal entities and theocratic entities. The Ministry of Justice does not fall into the trap from JW lawyers who are trying to confuse the issue. The Ministry explains they are considered the same. (Good answer)
END OF DAY 2
Hearing resumes tomorrow, April 7, at 10.00 AM.