HELSINKI – Jehovah’s witnesses getting a cold shoulder

Out of the two hundred Jehovah’s witnesses who came from Russia to apply for asylum in Finland since 2017, 90% have seen their applications rejected, according to the Finnish Immigration Service.

This means that a growing number of Jehovah’s witnesses are being deported back to Russia while others are waiting in limbo.

Behind the phenomenon is ever tightening legislation in Russia against anything considered a threat to the status quo.

In 2016, Russia enacted new legislation against terrorism and a year later Jehovah’s witnesses were named an extreme organisation and its activities were forbidden.    

Among others, Amnesty International has reported the persecution faced by Jehovah’s witnesses, who have, in some cases, even been tortured. The treatment of a religious group is in line with the situation of sexual minorities in Russia, something the European Court of Human Rights has strongly condemned. (Pekka Vänttinen |

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