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OCTOBER 4, 2012

Justice Prevails in Ukraine

On September 26, 2012, the Ukraine Supreme Court quashed an illegal attempt to seize a large part of the property on which the Ukraine branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses is located.

The Witnesses legally purchased the property in 1998. However, in 2008, the previous owner sold the property a second time, to the Sport Development Center LLC (SDC). Such actions are known in Ukraine as property raids.

The local commercial court ruled that the contract of sale to the SDC was legal, and the appeals by the Witnesses were dismissed.

However, justice prevailed. In December 2011, the high commercial court ruled in favor of the Witnesses and in April 2012 rejected the SDC’s appeal. This confirmed that the property rightfully belonged to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Three months later the appellate commercial court in Lviv revoked the local court’s unlawful decision that had recognized the SDC as the owner of the property.

In a final attempt to claim ownership, the SDC appealed the April decision to the Supreme Court of Ukraine. On September 26, however, the court swiftly and commendably rejected the appeal, finally settling the matter.

If the landgrab had been successful, Jehovah’s Witnesses would have lost their administrative building and a large portion of their property, hampering activities at their national headquarters in Ukraine.