APRIL 12, 2017
On April 12, 2017, the Supreme Court held a fourth day of hearings in the case to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. Attorneys for the Witnesses’ Administrative Center presented arguments asserting that the claim made by the Ministry of Justice violates Russia’s international agreements and its own constitution.
The attorneys argued that the ban proposed by the Ministry of Justice violates international norms of law, including the European Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Those agreements, as well as Russia’s own constitution, guarantee freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association (the right to form legal associations).
Four of Jehovah’s Witnesses testified that their congregations do not use publications on the Federal List of Extremist Materials and that Witnesses have no connection to extremism. The Court announced a recess and will reconvene on April 19, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.