posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 06:11 PM
A Russian court has barred Jehovah's Witnesses from operating in the capital, Moscow.
The court ruled that group's practices broke up families, encouraged suicide and threatened its members' health by not allowing blood transfusions.
Lawyers for the group said the ruling was a step back for democracy and was reminiscent of Soviet rule.
They said they would appeal the verdict both in Russia and to the European Court of Human Rights.
"Religious minorities are often a litmus test for where a society is going... this is an ominous signal," the group's lawyer, John Burns, said.
In an interview outside the courtroom, Vasiliy Kalin, a Jehovah's Witness official, expressed his disappointment at the ruling.
"In the Soviet time a Russian had to be an atheist," he said.
It'll be interesting to see what happens, but more than likely that the ban will be overturned by the European Court of Human Right's...
It'll be interesting to see if this affects the actual ban though and how members of this group are treated in Moscow and Russia.