04:34 GMT24 June 2021
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    The European Union is calling on Russia to defend the freedom of assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses following Russia's Supreme Court ruling upholding the decision to ban their activities as extremist, the Delegation of the European Union to Russia said in a statement Tuesday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — In April, Russia's Supreme Court ruled that the activities of the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia were extremist and banned them, along with the seizure of the center's property. On Monday, the court upheld its previous decision.

    "Jehovah’s Witnesses, like all other religious groups, must be able to peacefully enjoy freedom of assembly without interference, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as by Russia's international commitments and international human rights standards," the statement said.

    The OSCE, the US and the UK earlier voiced concern over the Russian court's decision.

    Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Justice applied for an order to shut down the organization's national headquarters near St. Petersburg.

    In March, the activities of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia – the largest Jehovah's Witnesses group in the country, with some 175,000 adherents, were suspended by the authorities.


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    freedom of assembly, Jehovah's Witnesses, European Union, Russia
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