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Jehovah's Witnesses banned in Russia and deemed extremist group

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Russia's Supreme Court has banned the Jehovah's Witnesses from operating in the country, accepting a request from the justice ministry that the religious organisation be considered an extremist group.

The court ordered the closure of the group's Russian headquarters and its 395 local chapters, as well as the seizure of its property.

The Interfax news agency quoted justice ministry lawyer Svetlana Borisova in court as saying the Jehovah's Witnesses "pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security".

The Jehovah's Witnesses claim more than 170,000 adherents in Russia. The group has come under increasing pressure over the past year, including a ban on distributing literature deemed to violate Russia's anti-extremism laws.

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