2021-04-01 10:00:00

St. Petersburg court bans mobile app of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

St. Petersburg, April 1, Interfax - The Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg has declared as extremist the mobile app JW Library of the religious organization Jehovah's Witnesses, banned in Russia, and prohibited its distribution in the territory of Russia, the press service for the city prosecutor's office said.

The court ruling will soon be forwarded to Russia's telecommunications oversight agency Roskomnadzor, and the app is to be banned based on it, the press service said.

As reported, in October 2020, the St. Petersburg city prosecutor's office requested that the court ban the circulation of JW Library in Russia. The oversight agency pointed out in its lawsuit that this app, available on Google Play and the App Store, is used for "the mass circulation of extremist printed media."

JW Library is an official app produced by Jehovah's Witnesses. It includes translations of the Bible, as well as books and brochures for Bible study. The app was developed by Jehovah's Witnesses, the non-profit organization Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania holds the copyright to it and it is sold by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. Both of the organizations are legal entities of Jehovah's Witnesses.

The prosecutor's office pointed out that the aforementioned organizations are based outside Russia and over 40 materials published by them and circulating in Russia are declared extremist.

In April 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia granted the lawsuit of the Russian Justice Ministry seeking to declare the Russian branch of Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist organization and banned its activities in the territory of Russia.