CHEBOKSARY, July 30 (RIA Novosti)
Authorities in the Russian Central Republic of Chuvashia opened a criminal case against ten Jehovah's Witnesses for “establishing an extremist community,” the local investigation department said.
According to investigators, the church opened a branch in Cheboksary, the capital of the republic, as well as in the towns of Novocheboksarsk, Kanash and Alatyr, where its members “distributed among the local residents banned printed materials…containing propaganda of exclusivity and the superiority of Jehovah's Witnesses over followers of other religions.”
Jehovah's Witnesses, known in the West for persistent door-to-door evangelism, now faces charges of instigating religious hatred and humiliating human’s dignity.
The Jehovah's Witnesses, which has some seven million followers worldwide and 300,000 in Russia, have already been banned in a number of Russian regions and in some former Soviet republics.
In May, similar charges were lodged against the group in the Russia’s Urals city of Orenburg.
Moscow’s branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses was dissolved by district court ruling in 2004, but in 2010 the European Court of Human Rights declared the decision illegal.
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