The State Department on Wednesday slammed the Russian Supreme Court’s decision to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses from practicing in the country, which considers them an “extremist” group.
“The Russian Supreme Court’s decision this week against the Jehovah’s Witnesses is the latest in a disturbing trend of persecution of religious minorities in Russia,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in a statement.
Nauert urged the court to reversed the ban.
“We urge the Russian authorities to lift the ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses’ activities in Russia, to reverse the closing of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center, and to release any members of religious minorities that continue to be unjustly detained for so-called ‘extremist’ activities,” the statement said.
Nauert also called on the Kremlin “to respect the right of all to exercise the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.”
Last week, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled to uphold a ruling in April that called the Christian group an “extremist” organization.