Case against leader of Tobolsk Jehovah’s Witnesses dismissed
In January 2014 the Tobolsk city court dismissed the case against the leader of the Tobolsk group of Jehovah’s Witnesses Ilnur Ashirmametov, who had been accused of “propagandizing the superiority of the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
On January 20th, 2014 it became known that the Tobolsk city court, due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, dismissed a court case under part 1 of article 282 (incitement of hatred and enmity) and part 1 of article 239 (creation of a religious association whose activity involves violence against citizens or otherwise may cause harm to their health) of Russia’s criminal code against the leader of Tobolsk’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ilnur Ashirmametov.
Tobolsk’s prosecutor Evgenii Biryukov remarked that the case was dismissed on non-exonerative grounds. “The statute of limitations is not grounds to rehabilitate the accused after the case dismissal. Now the court’s hands are untied to go forward with declaring their literature extremist and closing down their groups by court decision”, said the prosecutor.
We remind the reader that Ashirmametov was accused of printing and distributing Jehovah’s Witnesses literature and leading preaching activities, as well as owning 35 books by the Jehovah’s Witnesses which were confiscated during a search in November 2012. Cases relating to him go from 2011-2012.
We also remind the reader that we consider the prosecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses for extremism unlawful and perceive it as religious discrimination. Additionally, advocating the superiority of one’s own religion over others cannot be considered an indication of extremism, as this contradicts both law and common sense.
Translation by Matthew McDonald