Monday, December 06, 2010

Jehovah's Witness member goes on trial in Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — The religious group Jehovah's Witness says their local leader is being persecuted in Russia under a vague anti-extremism law.

The group said Monday that Alexander Kalistratov is going on trial in the Siberian town of Gorno-Altaisk for alleged "incitement of religious enmity and hatred."

The group's spokesman Robert Warren said the trial is part of a "larger problem" that Jehovah's Witnesses have been facing in Russia and called the trial a "misapplication" of Russia' 2002 anti-extremism law.

Human rights advocates claim that law is used to crack down on dissidents and religious groups that Russia's dominant Orthodox Church disapproves of.

In September 2009, a court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don banned a regional branch of Jehovah's Witness and outlawed dozens of its publications.

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