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Russian Supreme Court upholds Jehovah’s Witnesses ban

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Ruling forces group to liquidate 395 meeting halls

Russia’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Jehovah’s Witnesses against a ruling earlier this year banning the group from the country.

In April, the Supreme Court ruled that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were an extremist organization, and must close 395 of its chapters and its headquarters in St. Petersburg. The group claims to have 170,000 members in Russia, according to the Washington Post.

The group will be now be required to hand over all of its properties to the Russian government.

Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman David Semonian said in a statement that “it’s very concerning that despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, powerful elements within Russia continue to frame our organization as extremist.”

Viktor Zhenkov, a Russian attorney for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, said today’s ruling would be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, according to the Interfax news agency.

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