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Jehovah’s Witnesses banned as ‘extremist’ in Russia

On Thursday Russia’s Supreme Court ordered that Jehovah’s Witnesses is an “extremist” organisation and must hand over all its property to the state.

Sergei Cherepanov, a Jehovah’s Witnesses representative, as said that the group will appeal the decision in 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 organisation that destroys families, fosters hatred and threatens lives.

The religious organisation has expanded around the world and has about eight million active followers. It has faced court proceedings in several countries, mostly over its pacifism and rejection of blood transfusions.

Its Russian branch, based near St Petersburg, has regularly rejected this allegation.

It has said a ban would directly affect around 400 of its groups and have an impact on all of its 2,277 religious groups in Russia, where it says it has 175,000 followers.

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