On July 9, 2020, the Swiss anti-cult associations JW Opfer Hilfe (Aid to the Victims of Jehovah’s Witnesses) and Fachstelle infoSekta (Center for Information on Cults) issued a press release, announcing that a 2019 decision of the District Court of Zurich had become final, which acquitted Dr. Regina Ruth Spiess, a former employee of infoSekta and current representative of JW Opfer Hilfe, from criminal charges of defamation brought by the Swiss Jehovah’s Witnesses, (JW Opfer Hilfe and Fachstelle infoSekta 2020).
On July 13, 2020, armed officers raided 110 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Voronezh Region. This was the largest number of coordinated raids on Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern Russia. Unfortunately, this action marks an escalation in the persecution of the Witness community following the April 20, 2017, ban imposed by the Russian Supreme Court on the Witnesses’ national organization and its 395 regional divisions on grounds of “extremism.”
«U.S. Government: Publicly censure Alexander Dvorkin and the Saint Irenaeus of Leon Information-Consultation Center (SILIC)) for their ongoing disinformation campaign against religious minorities.» U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recently published the report entitled “The Anti-cult Movement and Religious Regulation in Russia and the Former Soviet Union”.
There have been numerous declarations of condemnation of the discriminatory and illiberal attitude that the Russian Federation has shown for years towards Jehovah's Witnesses. Among these statements, the one issued on 11 December 2018 by Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, stands out, in which he states that "Jehovah's Witnesses are also Christians and I do not understand why they should be persecuted".
On March 3, 2020, Mr. Artëm Gerasimov, a member of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, was sentenced by the Yalta Court (Crimea) to a penalty of 400,000 rubles (about € 5,300) on charges of practicing his religion, a crime sanctioned by the wretched Yarovaya law which labels Witnesses and other religious minorities disliked by the dominant Orthodox religion as "extremist". Gerasimov did not lose heart and appealed, but on June 4, 2020, the Crimean high court sentenced him to six years in prison, again on the basis of being a "dangerous extremist".
On June 2nd, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom, instructing the U.S. State Department to prioritize international religious freedom in its implementation of foreign policy and budget.
«Religious freedom, America’s first freedom, is a moral and national security imperative» the executive order reads. «Religious freedom for all people worldwide is a foreign policy priority of the United States, and the United States will respect and vigorously promote this freedom».
The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2019 organised by the OSCE ODIHR was hosted this year at Warsaw National Stadium from 16 to 27 September 2019.
The HDIM is an annual event gathering representatives of the OSCE 57 participating States and of a number of NGOs registered with the OSCE discussing relevant human rights topics.
During the last OSCE sessions on Freedom of Religion or Belief, we exposed the harmful activities of FECRIS (the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sects) in Russia and its integral financing by the French Government. Members of FECRIS and of its Russian branch, the Saint Ireneus of Lyons Centre for Religious Studies which is affiliated to the Orthodox Church, have been waging for years a campaign against non-Orthodox minorities in order to eradicate them from the Russian territory.
Radical Christian organisations threaten Hindu Ashram in Russia, organisation reaches out to PM Modi for help
Hindu Ashram in Russia seeks help of Modi government as Christian fundamentalists attack their operations.
A Hindu Ashram in Russia, ‘Shri Prakash Dham’, is under threat from radical Christian organisations, claims Prasun Prakash, Director, Public Affairs, Centre for Conservation of Indian Culture, Shri Prakash Dham. Shri Prakash Dham has presence in Russia, Eurasia, Europe and the UK.
The situation of religious minorities in Russia has been a cause of serious concerns for several years. While Russia hosts high-level academic institutes and tolerant intellectuals, it is also home to radicals who believe that the Russian Orthodox tradition should be defended by cracking down on minority religions.
Orel Oblast court upholds sentence of Dennis Christensen
Orlovskie Novosti (23.05.2019) – On 23 May, the Orel oblast court left in force the sentence of the Zheleznodorozhny district court with respect to Danish citizen Dennis Christensen, who was found guilty of extremism and sentenced to six years imprisonment, an Orlovskie Novosti correspondent reports.
In these days the international press reports about tortures suffered in Russia by members of the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Washington Post of March 2 speaks of “Russia’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses is reviving dark practices of the past”. The last two years have been really difficult for the Jehovah's Witnesses (even if the discriminatory acts against them date back to at least the 90s) since, implementing the controversial Yarovaya law, the Russian Supreme Court has labeled them "extremist organization".
In line with the ongoing project “Right to Truth” announced last 4 February in Florence at the end of presentation event for the book of proceedings of the FOB convention, Paris Human Right Attorney Patricia Duval, member of FOB Scientific Committee, wrote the following article for the prestigious magazine Coscienza e Libertà.
Scientologists are in jail in Saint Petersburg for the sole fact of practicing their faith, which Russian authorities regard as “extremist,” a charge also used against other groups. We have followed with great concern news published in the Russian media about serious irregularities in the case of Scientologist Ivan Matsitsky, who has been in jail in the last seventeen months.
We receive and publish the following two articles regarding Russia's authorities violations of the Rights of Defense of two Scientologists in Russia. Based on these informations FOB together with other NGOs has signed a paper expressing concerns about Rights of Defense violations in Russian Scientology Case.
November 18, Sunday, by Dmitry Marakulin
In the year of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, FOB calls on States to implement FORB at the United Nations Palace in Geneva
The chairman of FOB, attn. Amicarelli and other delegates took part in the event FORB IN EU AND RUSSIA organised by the UN ECOSOC accredited association "Fundacion VIDA" during the 39th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the 18th of September 2018.
Police in at least seven cities across Russia have conducted aggressive raids against Jehovah's Witnesses. In what appears to be a coordinated campaign, special police forces (OMON), at times wearing masks and carrying machine guns, raided Witnesses' homes, pointed guns at them, and detained both young and old for interrogations.
Video and text of the paper by Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers Int., at the International Convention Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe, an arduous journey, held in Florence on 18-19 January 2018.
Video and text of the paper by Professor Massimo Introvigne, sociologist of religions and director of CESNUR, at the International Convention Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe, an arduous journey, held in Florence on 18-19 January 2018