The JW had appealed the decision and tried to establish that the accusations of “extremist activity” are based on fabricated evidence and false statements that have been manufactured by local authorities to portray sincere worship as criminal activity.
In the October 12, 2016, hearing, Judge M. S. Moskalenko of the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow did not allow testimony or video that exposed the illegal actions of the local authorities who are bent to ensuring that JW do not exist in Russia.
However, on January 16, 2017, the Moscow City Court dismissed the Witnesses’ appeal that challenged the legality of the Prosecutor General’s warning issued against their national headquarters.
The three-judge panel rejected all arguments filed by the Witnesses’ attorneys and rendered its decision after a 10-minute recess. The decision upholds the October 12, 2016, Tverskoy District Court decision that ruled in favor of the Prosecutor General’s Office.The warning, dated March 2, 2016, is now enforceable. Speaking before the hearing, International human rights lawyer James Andrik spoke of the implication.
“If the Moscow City Court dismisses the appeal, the Prosecutor General’s Office could act on its threat against the Administrative Center. It could liquidate the Administrative Center and further harass the religious communities of Jehovah’s Witnesses and restrict their worship throughout Russia. If, on the other hand, the court upholds the appeal, it would be a breakthrough for justice”, he said.
However Jehovah’s Witnesses are a peaceful group who hold their worship in the open and denounce all sorts of religious extremism. They believe in the Bible which also encourages them to respect secular authority. It is now left to the world to appeal to President Vladimir Putin to halt this attempt to wipe out witnesses from Russia.