Bishop of Coventry asks Government about criminalisation by Russia of worship by Jehovah’s Witnesses

On 19th July 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer to a question about the Russian Supreme Court ruling on Jehovah’s Witnesses:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the decision by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to ban the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the grounds that the group is considered to be an extremist organisation.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK is deeply concerned by the dismissal of an appeal against the decision of Russia’s Supreme Court to categorise the Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremists. This ruling effectively criminalises the peaceful worship of some 175,000 Russian citizens and is at odds with the right to religious freedom which is enshrined in the Russian Constitution. I issued a statement on 18 July expressing our concerns. We have raised this issue with the Russian Government and continue to call on them to uphold their commitment to this basic freedom in international fora, including in the Council of Europe.


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