MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia's Ministry of Justice has officially listed Jehovah's Witnesses among non-governmental organizations disbanded for spreading extremism, the ministry said Thursday in a statement.
"The Russian Justice Ministry has included 'The Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia' religious organization and 395 affiliated religious organizations on the list of public associations and religious organizations, other non-profit organizations, which have been liquidated or banned in accordance with an enforceable court ruling on the grounds of the Federal Law on Countering Extremist Activity," the statement reads.
The Justice Ministry insisted that the religious organization posed a threat to the protection of human rights, social interests and security, particularly accusing Jehovah's Witnesses of making their members refrain from blood transfusion. The religious group denied these charges, arguing that its doctrine does not run counter to the Russian legislation.
Russia's ban on Jehovah's Witnesses was largely criticized around the world, with the United States, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe expressing their concerns over the court ruling. Jehovah's Witnesses have religious communities in over 200 countries globally.