FEBRUARY 17, 2017
On February 9, 2017, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ruled to liquidate the Birobidzhan Local Religious Organization (LRO) of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Court upheld a lower court ruling that declared the LRO to be extremist and that banned its religious activity.
The ruling is based on fabricated evidence. In February 2015 and January 2016, police planted banned religious literature in a facility that the Witnesses rent for religious worship and then “discovered” the publications. In the January incident, masked special police disrupted a religious meeting and planted literature under a chair in the presence of the attendees.
The Birobidzhan LRO, located in the Jewish Autonomous Region of Russia, is the first LRO to be liquidated since the Moscow City Court ruled that the General Prosecutor’s warning to the Witnesses’ national headquarters is enforceable.