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Parliamentary questions
24 April 2017
Question for written answer
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Rule 130
Brando Benifei (S&D)

 Subject:  VP/HR — Banning of Jehovah's Witnesses by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation today banned the well-known Christian movement the Jehovah’s Witnesses. That ruling follows a decision taken by the Ministry of Justice in early April 2017 when it added the movement to a list of extremist groups which also includes Islamic State and al-Qa’ida.

The Court also ordered that all the movement’s property be confiscated and made over to the Russian State. Sergei Cherepanov, the representative of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, has announced that he will lodge an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights, which has already declared illegal a previous banning attempt made by Russia in 2010.

Does the Vice-President/High Representative not feel that the arbitrary nature of this decision, for which there are no rational arguments as to the alleged threat posed by Jehovah’s Witnesses, seriously undermines the freedom of religion and pluralism in Russia?

Will it exert pressure on the Russian authorities to ensure that the civil and religious rights of Russian citizens are better protected and upheld, not least in order to counteract a drift towards authoritarianism that threatens European interests and to promote international relations hinging on respect for fundamental human rights such as freedom of religion?

Original language of question: IT 
Last updated: 10 May 2017Legal notice