Human Rights

Moskalenko v. Russia: New Complaint to the ECHR in the Case of Jehovah's Witnesses

Khabarovsk Territory,   France

On December 18, 2018, a new complaint "Moskalenko v. Russia" was sent to the European Court of Human Rights with a request to consider it as a priority in accordance with the policy of the Strasbourg Court.

On August 2, 2018, FSB and OMON officers invaded at least 5 houses of civilians in Khabarovsk. The police seized religious literature, mobile phones and other personal belongings of citizens. Among others, Valery Vasilyevich Moskalenko was interrogated and taken into custody. He is accused of participating in worship services and "hymns reflecting the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses." If convicted, he faces up to 6 years in prison.

The complaint draws attention to the violation by the Russian Federation of several articles of the European Convention at once, including Articles 9, 3, 8, 17 and/or 18 (considered alone or jointly with other articles). Thus, article 18 of the Convention prohibits the imposition of restrictions for purposes other than those for which they were intended. In this regard, the complaint emphasizes: "The declared goal of combating extremism serves as a cover for the State for the illegal goal of eradicating the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia."

To date, more than 40 complaints from Jehovah's Witnesses have been filed with the European Court of Human Rights against Russia. Among them are "MRO Taganrog and Others v. Russia" No. 32401/10 and 21 other complaints (communicated on March 6, 2014); MRO Samara and Others v. Russia No. 15962/15 and 6 other complaints (communicated on September 4, 2017); "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and Kalin v. Russian Federation" No. 10188/17 (communicated on December 1, 2017); Christensen v. Russia No. 39417/17 (communicated on 4 September 2017); "Markin and Trofimov v. Russia" No. 20/519/18; Suvorov and Others v. Russia No. 29779/18; Polyakovy v. Russia No. 32532/18; Klimov v. Russia No. 40768/18; Puida and Others v. Russia No. 42412/18; Britvin & Levchuk v. Russia (filed November 1, 2018); Bazhenov and Others v. Russia (filed November 30, 2018).