(Newsweek) — Russia’s Supreme Court has declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization, ordering its assets liquidated and banning all activities in the country, Russian state media reported Thursday. The ban will not come into force until after the group’s appeal is heard. The ruling upholds a claim made by Russia’s Ministry of Justice.
Responding to the ruling, Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, confirmed that the Jehovah’s Witnesses will be appealing the ruling.
“We are greatly disappointed by this development and deeply concerned about how this will affect our religious activity,” he said. “We will appeal this decision, and we hope that our legal rights and protections as a peaceful religious group will be fully restored as soon as possible.”