Watchdog presses for ban on Jehovah's Witnesses magazines
MOSCOW, November 17 - RAPSI, Alyona Yegorova. A watchdog contested the commercial court's judgment quashing the ban on the distribution of the Awake! and Watchtower magazines published by Jehovah's Witnesses, a court told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) on Thursday.
Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization. It has often been characterized as a totalitarian pseudo-Christian sect by mainstream religious representatives.
As of August 2009, the organization counted about seven million members.
On April 6, 2010, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media cancelled the magazines distribution license issued by the State Committee for the Press in 1997. The reason was that Russian courts declared some of their stories extremist.
The Moscow Commercial Court invalidated the watchdog's order because it prohibited the distribution of all magazines, while only part of their stories were found extremist.
Wachtturm Bibel and Traktat-Gesellschaft, Deutscher Zweig, e.V, which obtained the license, and the Jehovah's Witnesses management center responsible for the distribution contested the orders.
Jehovah's Witnesses alleged that the orders are unlawful because press publication and distribution are its core economic activities and its rights have been violated by disputable orders.
The watchdog argued that the organization's business is conducted beyond Russia and is not subject to Russian law.