Problems with alternative service for Jehovah's Witnesses after ban
Forum 18 say:
'Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia continue to feel the impact of their liquidation and the nationwide ban on their exercise of freedom of religion or belief... Military call-up offices have denied several army conscripts the option of alternative civilian service. Jehovah's Witnesses also experience increased law enforcement harassment and incidents of vandalism and violence across the country.
At least six young Jehovah's Witness men are potentially being denied their right to perform alternative civilian service. Of the six individuals in five different regions across Russia known to Forum 18, three have so far received official refusals and have been called up to the army, while military authorities have yet to make a final decision regarding the other three.
Individuals whose beliefs do not allow them to engage in military activity may apply to local military call-up offices for permission to perform "alternative civilian service'.
On 1 December 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled the Jehovah's Witnesses' appeal against their liquidation admissible and decided that it should be considered as a priority case.
This follows the Supreme Court's decision to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses on the grounds that they are an extremist organisation. The liquidation ruling, made on 20th April 2017 and upheld on 17th July 2017, means that the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre and all 395 regional organisations of Jehovah’s Witnesses are subject to liquidation, and their property can now be seized by the state.
Source: War Resisters' International, Russia: Ban on Jehovah's Witnesses affects tens of thousands including conscientious objectors, 8 October 2017; Forum 18, RUSSIA: Property sell-offs, alternative service denials follow Jehovah's Witness ban, 19 December 2017.
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