2020-05-22 13:38:00

St. Petersburg's Evening Light charity to appeal designation of U.S. preacher Branham's materials as extremist

St. Petersburg, May 22, Interfax - The Evening Light charity organization will appeal the St. Petersburg City Court's decision to designate the informational materials authored by U.S. preacher William Branham as extremist and prohibit their circulation in Russia, the organization's representative and lawyer of the Team 29 human rights advocacy group Maxim Olenichev told Interfax.

"We disagree with the court ruling and will contest it in an appeals court," Olenichev said.

On Thursday, the St. Petersburg City Court ruled in favor of a Prosecutor's Office lawsuit asking the court to designate a number of informational materials authored by U.S. preacher Branham as extremist and ban their circulation on Russian territory. In 2018, the Pushkinsky District Court of St. Petersburg dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by the Prosecutor's Office.

"Independent conclusions drawn up by specialists with a vast record of conducting examinations confirm the absence of signs of extremism in William Branham's sermons," Olenichev said.

"Branham criticized the Catholic Church, like any other church criticizes another, for example, the Orthodox Church criticizes the Catholic Church, but he didn't humiliate or insult these churches' worshippers themselves. In other words, his criticism exclusively targeted the social institution, the organization, but not people," he said.

"The court also took note of the results of an examination conducted by the Herzen [State Pedagogical] University. It was carried out without using general scientific methods, while the specialists who conducted it, in our opinion, lack sufficient expertise and are not experts in the fields of linguistics, psychology, sociology, and theology, who can analyze texts for the presence of signs of extremism in them," Olenichev said.

"This case centers on the violation of the main human right to practice any religion or not to practice it at all," he said.