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Posted: April 05, 2017

Russia's Supreme Court bans Jehovah's Witnesses

Seth Wenig/AP
The iconic Watchtower sign is seen on the roof of the current world headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

By Joy Johnston, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

MOSCOW —

UPDATE: Russia's Supreme Court issued a ban Thursday on the Jehovah's Witnesses religious group, labeling them extremists.

The court also ordered the group’s property to be seized, according to The Associated Press.

Russia's Supreme Court heard a government request earlier this month to ban Jehovah's Witnesses from practicing in the country.

According to the BBC, Russia's justice ministry has already designated the Christian-based group as an extremist group.

According to a New York Times report, the religious group is viewed by the Russian government as deviating too far from traditional norms that President Vladimir Putin has promoted. Jehovah's Witnesses do not vote or otherwise participate in politics, do not serve in the military and recognize God as the only true leader.

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There are approximately 175,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

It's not the first time the religious group has faced opposition in the region. During Soviet rule, Jehovah's Witnesses were targeted as spies by the KGB.


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