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Vasily Kalin's Urgent Video Message in Connection with the Lawsuit to Ban Jehovah's Witnesses

The unprecedented news was the reason for this appeal. The Ministry of Justice set out to shut down and criminalize an entire religion, Jehovah's Witnesses. A lawsuit has already been filed with the Supreme Court of Russia. They are asking for the death penalty for all three hundred and ninety-six of our organizations, including our Administrative Center! We are talking about liquidation and recognition of them as extremist.

A special clause is to confiscate all their houses of worship and other property from believers! Moreover, the Ministry of Justice wants to do this immediately.

For the 175,000 followers of our religion, this may be the most troubling period of their lives.

I remember an April night in 1951. Then eight and a half thousand believers of our religion, that is, almost ALL, were deprived of their homes, loaded into wagons and taken to Siberia for eternal settlement. The lives of thousands of believers were irreparably broken. Hundreds and hundreds passed through the camps. But they did not renounce their faith. And they didn't harden. They always remained peaceful people, as Christ commanded. Subsequently, the state recognized us as victims of political repression. And how blasphemous it is for us to find ourselves in the position of dangerous criminals again!

If the Ministry of Justice gets its way, believers will face up to 10 years in prison! Recently, after the liquidation of the registered community in Taganrog, 16 of our brothers and sisters in the faith were sentenced to heavy fines, and some even to 5-year suspended imprisonment just for reading the Bible together. A new charge can lead them to real terms.

For what? What are these people to blame for? That they seem to be "wrongly" studying the Bible? That they regard their faith as the only true one? Or are they guilty of not resorting to violence by following the Gospel commandment to "sheath your sword"?

The accusation of extremism against Jehovah's Witnesses is absurd and savagery.

We ask you, who can influence the course of events, to face the facts objectively and impartially.

Finally, I recall the episode described in the Acts of the Apostles. Christians were tried on false accusations. One of the judges of the Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, said of them to his colleagues: "Leave these people alone, let them go. If their purpose and their work are from men, it will perish of its own accord, but if it is from God, you will not destroy them. And how would it not turn out that you are struggling with God himself! (Acts 5:38, 39)

Vasily Kalin, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.