It seems like everyday there is some bizarre, new story hitting the airwaves by way of Russia.

Yesterday was no different when news broke that the Russian supreme court ruled Jehovah’s Witnesses are now considered a religious extremist group, and that they are barred from practicing their religion in any capacity.

All of this must have begun this past November when Russian police forced their entrance into the Birobidzhan branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses and said they found extremist writings. The Witnesses quickly came out and vehemently shut down these findings saying that the have video proof that the police fabricated the evidence.

This is bad news for the progress of international religious freedom but also not the first time Jehovah’s Witnesses have been persecuted in Russia. In 1951, almost 10,000 Witnesses were sent against their will to Siberia by Stalin and the Russian government.

This unfortunate court ruling comes just after it was reported that prison camps for gay men have been opened up in the Russian Republic of Chechnya. As predicted by many news outlets, the Chechen government denied the reports and even went as far as to say that there aren’t even any gay men in all of Chechnya.

With so many Islamist extremists preaching hateful and intolerant speech in the small, Russian republic, you’d think their government would be less concerned with peaceful Jehovah’s Witnesses. Putin is now backing the claims that no such camps have been put into place. This is clearly a violation of international human rights and lets hope that other governing bodies step up soon.

Emmett Krauss