Jehovah’s Witnesses

Today is the 7th anniversary of the banning of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

"The [Orthodox] Church does not appeals for heretics, members of cults or dissidents to be subjected to prosecution. However, the decision to ban Jehovah's Witnesses is to be considered a positive act in the fight against the spread of cultic ideas, which have nothing in common with Christianity." These were the words with which Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Council for External Affairs of the Russian Church, greeted the banning of Jehovah's Witnesses occurred in Russia 7 years ago, on April 20, 2017.

Jehovah’s Witnesses fight Norway dangerous drift against freedom of religion or belief

The intolerant drift towards minority religions seems to know no rest in Europe, despite the dictates of the European Convention on Human Rights and the rulings promulgated by various courts in individual European states, such as the Court of Rome and, most recently, the Belgian Court of Cassation. The Netherlands also sees no reason to criminalise the restriction of contact with excluded ex-congregates.

The Belgian Supreme Court brings justice to the Jehovah’s Witnesses

The year 2023 ends with a good news for the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgium. The Belgian Supreme Court definitively puts an end to the Ghent case, reaffirming the legitimacy of the practice, adopted by Jehovah's Witnesses and, essentially, by all religions and human associational groups, political or otherwise, of severing relations with those who have disaffiliated or been expelled from the congregation.

Media and religious minorities: when persecution is 'between the lines'

We share an important contribution by Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, published in Bitter Winter on the issue of how the media demonise religious minorities. Already in the past, Fautré had denounced the Belgian media's campaigns against the Christian congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, giving misleading when not outright false information, which was punctually refused in court. But so be it, the damage was done and the aim achieved.

Spanish Jehovah's Witnesses indemnified by AEVTJ's anti-cultists

Nazism justified the extermination of the Jews - and other disliked minorities, including Jehovah's Witnesses - on the theory that they were a kind of disease that endangered the superior races, primarily the German Aryan race. Painful history, but past history... or maybe not! The anti-Spanish Association of the Victims of the Jehovah's Witnesses (AEVTJ) claims that being a Jehovah's Witness is like having 'diabetes', i.e. a disease that must be monitored, treated and possibly eradicated. For the good of mankind, that is.

Tax exemption granted to Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain

From Spain a small step for the Christian community of Jehovah's Witnesses, but a big step for freedom of belief in Europe and around the world. While there are still, unfortunately, numerous violations of freedom of belief and religion globally, timely denounced with diligence by the USCIRF, the Spanish government has given a clear indication of which path to follow for a peaceful and civilized coexistence. The hope is that other governments will follow its example.

The Russian Campaign Against the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Its Influence in Central Asia

Rosita Šorytė — In Central Asian countries, courts have penalized the Jehovah’s Witnesses for allegedly damaging the mental health of their victims and propagating “religious extremism.” These accusations did not originate in Central Asia but were imported there from Russia. After examining some specific court cases, the paper discusses three main Russian accusations against Jehovah’s Witnesses (...)

ECHR rules two judgments in favour of 14 Jehovah’s Witnesses against Russia

By Willy Fautré — On 22 February, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued two judgments in favor of 14 Jehovah’s Witnesses and found that Russia violated their fundamental rights to freedom of religion. Russia has been ordered to pay a total of over 99,000 euros ($112,323 U.S.) in compensation for violations that included mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement officials between 2010 and 2012.

The Holocaust of Jehovah's Witnesses. Persecuted and forgotten

It takes courage. It would have been enough to fill out an abjuration form in which the prisoner declared to disassociate himself from Jehovah's Witnesses. But almost no one signed it even though they were aware of the fate that awaited them. Another great lesson in moral and spiritual integrity offered by the Christian congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. A rare good, in this and any other age.

RUSSIA: "Foreign agents", "undesirable organisations", and freedom of religion or belief

by Victoria Arnold — Russia has used increasingly strict legislation on "foreign agents" (a term which has connotations of spying) and "undesirable organisations" to curtail, complicate, or prohibit the activities of organisations which promote human rights and monitor their violation, including that of freedom of religion and belief. This "indirectly affects the people human rights defenders stand up for", says Aleksandr Verkhovsky of the SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis (branded a "foreign agent").

Kyrgyz Jehovah's Witnesses can continue to use their books

On November 30 we reported on the proceedings against the Kirhisi Jehovah's Witnesses, guilty of using publications that, according to the General Prosecutor's Office, are "extremist", in accordance with the intolerant and anti-cult line of neighboring Russia. Today we are pleased to announce that the District Court of Pervomayskiy has rejected the request of the Prosecutor's Office, also thanks to an expert opinion written by Massimo Introvigne and Rosita Šorytė, respectively director and deputy director of Bitter Winter.

Russia Model Restricting Religious Freedom Exported to Kyrgyzstan?

Will Kyrgyzstan Abide by the Rule of Law or Merely Follow in the Footsteps of Russia by Restricting Religious Freedom? - The test case of the Publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In Kyrgyzstan, the Pervomayskiy District Court is expected to rule on Thursday 2 December on a claim from the General Prosecutor’s office to ban 13 publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses as “extremist,” with the apparent aim of following in Russia’s footsteps and banning the Witnesses simply for their peaceful Christian worship.