OCTOBER 26, 2016
On October 18, 2016, the Russian Federation Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling to liquidate a local legal entity of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Orel on charges of “extremism.” This is the seventh local legal entity of the Witnesses that Russian courts have liquidated—all based on a misapplication of legislation on extremism to the worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Local authorities in Orel had made previous attempts to shut down the Orel legal entity based on fabricated evidence. When these attempts failed, the Ministry of Justice filed a claim in May 2016, alleging that the Orel legal entity is an “extremist” organization.
This case is significant because the Orel legal entity is the first to receive a warning and be liquidated since the Prosecutor General’s Office sent a warning to the Witnesses’ national office in March 2016.