Russia wins court bid to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses over ‘extremism’

Faith ban: A stock image of a Jehovah's Witnesses' baptism AFP/Getty Images

Russia’s government has won a Supreme Court bid to outlaw Jehovah’s Witnesses and have the movement declared an extremist organisation.

Government lawyers argued that the Christian-based faith group had distributed pamphlets which incited hatred against other groups during a six-day legal battle, the BBC reported.

It was also argued that the country’s 175,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses’ activities “violated Russia’s law on combating extremism”.

Their headquarters , near St Petersburg, has already been added to a list of extremist groups by the justice ministry.

The organisation will launch an appeal against Thursday’s ruling.

Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia said: “We are greatly disappointed by this development and deeply concerned about how this will affect our religious activity.

“We will appeal this decision.”