Russia’s Constitutional Court confirmed on December 5, 2012, that religious organizations are not obligated to secure advance state permission to hold religious events outside of their recognized place of worship. The case, initiated by the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian government, was significant to Jehovah’s Witnesses who organize annual gatherings at rented locations and private homes. In reaching its decision, the Constitutional Court relied on victories obtained by Jehovah’s Witnesses before the European Court of Human Rights. Grigory Martynov, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses, stated: “We hope that this ruling allows us to gather without hindrance and that it upholds religious freedom in Russia.”

Media Contacts:

International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000

Russia: Grigory Martynov, tel. +7 812 702 2691