Мнение со стороны

Anatoly Pchelintsev: "Let's raise our voice in defense of Jehovah's Witnesses!"

"From my point of view, the federal executive bodies, such as the Ministry of Justice, made a colossal legal mistake and ... religious. The whole history shows that an attempt to ban, liquidate does not lead to anything. It's just that Jehovah's Witnesses will be underground.

And when I communicate with believers, with clergy, they ask me a question, in fact, rhetorical: "Anatoly Vasilyevich, what is happening?" This is a colossal mistake of the federal executive authorities. I'm not even talking about the fact that elementary constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens are violated. Article 28 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion, is simply trampled on, it is simply ignored.

Jehovah's Witnesses exist all over the world today. And even Nazi Germany, which created its Auschwitz camp for them, or in Polish it is called Auschwitz, where one million four hundred thousand people were killed, was created for Jehovah's Witnesses. They wore a purple triangle... And how did it end? This ended with the collapse of Nazism. But other states have drawn the right conclusions from this. Today, Jehovah's Witnesses exist and operate unhindered in Germany and other European countries. But why is this happening here? I ask myself this question. And I am absolutely sure that this will not lead to anything good.

I may not share the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, but today I am in favor of defending them, because the violation of rights begins here.

And I would also like to remind you of the well-known words – they may sound trite, but they should be repeated more often – of the well-known priest Martin Niemöller, by the way, a German Lutheran priest, who said: "At first they came for the Communists, but I kept silent. Then they came for the Jews, but I kept silent, because I was not a Jew either. They came for the Catholics - I said nothing. And when they came for me, there was no one to say a word in my defense." So, do not be silent. If we say that we are a state governed by the rule of law, we are a state where human rights and freedoms are guaranteed, where the law has the force of supremacy, then let's raise our voices in defense of Jehovah's Witnesses!"

Anatoly Vasilyevich Pchelintsev, Honorary Advocate of Russia, Senior Partner of the Slavic Legal Center Law Firm, Editor-in-Chief of the Religion and Law magazine, Doctor of Law, Member of the Expert Council of the State Duma Committee on Public Associations and Religious Organizations, Member of the Commission for Improvement of Legislation and Law Enforcement Practice of the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations under the President of the Russian Federation.