Court acquits Jehovah's Witnesses leader charged with extremism

Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI)/December 22, 2011

The Altai Republic Supreme Court revoked on Thursday the sentence of the head of a local branch of Jehovah's Witnesses who was earlier convicted of religious extremism, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday. The court has also ordered to terminate the case.

Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization. Many traditional religions consider it to be a pseudo-Christian sect. Its management center in Russia is in St. Petersburg.

"The court decided to cancel the Gorno-Altaysk City Court's judgment in Kalistratov's cae, to close the criminal case against him since his actions do not constitute a crime and to acknowledge Kalistratov's right to restitution," the presiding judge said.

Kalistratov told RIA Novosti that he is satisfied with the acquittal.

The Gorno-Altaysk City Court found Kalistratov guilty of extremism on November 3 and sentenced him to 100 hours of community service

Earlier, the same court acquitted Kalistratov on April 14 after the prosecution failed to establish a crime. However, the Altai Republic Supreme Court canceled the acquittal judgment upon the request of the prosecutor's office and remanded the case for reconsideration to the same court.

The investigators opened the case against Kalistratov after he published and distributed 48 religious articles of a "strong extremist nature" allegedly aimed at discrediting other religions.

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