Military Registration office in the annexed Crimea asked a Jehovah's Witnesses follower to change his beliefs

The Military Commission of the Bakhchisaray district of the annexed Crimea demanded a conscript-follower of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to provide “documentation of his change of belief”, as stated on the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses’ website.

It was reported that in early June, the Military Registration and Enlistment Office denied the young man the right to alternative services, stating he must change his beliefs.

The organization's website has also published a copy of the draft notice, in which the Crimean had been asked to come to the Military Registration and Enlistment Office “to provide documentation on his change of belief.”

According to the website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, it hadn’t been explained to their member by the Military Registration and Enlistment Office which faith he should choose or where he could get the required document, but they added that should he refuse, he would be tried in court.

On April 20th, the Supreme Court of Russia declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and banned its activities.

The European Union argues that a religious group should have the right to freedom of assembly, which is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution and Russia's international human rights obligations.

In mid-May, the European Forum for Freedom of Religion and the organization Human Rights Without Borders appealed to the Supreme Court of Russia requesting to revoke the decision to ban Jehovah's Witnesses as it restricts human rights.


  Jehovah's Witnesses, Crimea