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Ban of legal entities

Russia submitted comments to the European Court on the complaint "LRO Glazova and Others v. Russia"

Moscow,   France

On December 13, 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) informed Jehovah's Witnesses that Russia had commented on the complaint "LRO Glazova and Others v. Russia." The substantive remarks state: "The Government emphasise that the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 20 April 2017 and the appellate ruling of the Appellate Board of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 17 July 2017 do not assess the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses and do not contain a restriction or prohibition on the individual practice of the above-mentioned doctrine."

"In view of the foregoing," continues Mikhail Galperin, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, who signed the comments, " there is no violation of the provisions of the Convention in the present case in connection with the liquidation of the Administrative Center and the prohibition of its activities."

"The explanations presented to the European Court look mocking, especially for tens of thousands of believers who live in constant fear of a sudden search or arrest," believes Yaroslav Sivulsky of the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses, "As a result of the decision taken by the Supreme Court, 62 people, including 7 women, were imprisoned for their faith. Right now, 26 people are languishing in various Russian pre-trial detention centers. By claiming that there are no violations, the authorities only exacerbate the already desperate human rights situation in Russia."

Complaint No. 3215/18 (LRO Glazova and Others v. Russian Federation) was filed on behalf of 395 local religious organizations (LROs) that were liquidated by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in April 2017 along with the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. The ECHR declared the complaint admissible and indicated that it would consider it as a matter of priority.

Separately, complaint No. 10188/17 was filed with the ECHR ("Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and Kalin v. Russian Federation"). Russia sent comments on the merits of this complaint to the ECHR in March 2018. In December 2018, Russia submitted observations to the compensation claims for both complaints. Now the complaints have been referred to the court. A ruling is awaited.