A court in Leningrad Region has outlawed the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Bible as “extremist”. The court imposed the ban despite the Extremism Law’s prohibition on such bans in relation to the main sacred works of four religions, after the judge agreed with court-appointed “experts” that the book was not in fact a bible. The ruling means that Jehovah’s Witnesses, already subject to a complete prohibition of their activities across Russia, are now also liable to prosecution for possession of this commonly held text. Jehovah’s Witnesses have appealed against the decision.
Other Jehovah’s Witness literature has also been declared “extremist” in 2016 and 2017, both before and after the Supreme Court ban on their Administrative Centre and all their communities, which came into force in July 2017 (see F18News 18 July 2017 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2297).
The same ruling which banned the New World Bible also outlawed three other books seized by Russian customs officials, which do not appear to call for any violation of the human rights of others. Online versions of both Jehovah’s Witness and other religious material continue to be blocked.