Russia’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses were an “extremist” organisation and outlawed all its activity in the country and hand over all property to the state, Russia News Agency reports.
The court declared the immediate abolition of all 395 local chapters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and turned the organization’s assets into state property.
The full text of the ruling will be handed to the parties within five days after a Judge; Yuri Ivanchenko read out only the resolutive part of the decision.
The organization’s spokesman said they will appeal the decision and if the appellate panel of Supreme Court judges upheld Thursday’s verdict, the case would be taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
Russian authorities have put several of the group’s publications on a list of banned extremist literature and prosecutors have long cast it as an organization that destroys families, fosters hatred and threatens lives, Reuters reports.
Jehovah’s Witnesses group is known for its door-to-door preaching and rejection of military service and blood transfusions, says this description is false.
The group has about eight million active followers across the world.
It has faced court proceedings in several countries, mostly over its pacifism and rejection of blood transfusions.