A court in southern Russia has denounced a local organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses as “extremist” and ordered it disbanded, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday, in the latest in a long line of such rulings issued to the religious group in Russia.
The group’s building and surrounding land will be confiscated by the local government in the town of Abinsk, Krasnodar region, the court ruled.
The group had been distributing publications titled “Humanity in Search of God” and “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” that were included in the federal list of extremist materials and are banned for distribution in the country, the news report said.
The local group’s founders — Igor Soroka and Albert Belikov — were already fined for distributing banned literature in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
Nearly 70 Jehovah’s Witnesses publications are included among the federal list of extremist materials. Most were blacklisted on allegations of inciting religious hatred by criticizing other branches of Christianity.
The group’s lawyers have called the court’s decision ungrounded and unconstitutional, and they plan to file an appeal with Russia’s Supreme Court.
Read more: MOSCOW TIMES