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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 22.09.2019, 05:18

Latvian court awards asylum to Jehovah's Witness from Russia

BC, Riga, 03.06.2019.Print version
The Administrative District Court in Riga has granted refugee status to a Russia woman who was persecuted in her homeland for her religious views and had unsuccessfully applied for asylum at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, the court ruling shows, informed LETA/BNS.

Last summer the Russian citizen filed her asylum request with the Latvian State Border Guard, indicating that she was a Jehovah’s Witness, a denomination banned in Russia by law. She also cited persecutions of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.

The woman’s family members, including her son, the elder of a congregation, are also Jehovah’s Witnesses and had been suffering arrests, interrogations and accusations of extremism.

The woman was afraid to stay in Russia, so she left the country unimpeded. Her eldest son, who live in the US, bought her the visa.

After the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs refused to grant the Russian woman refugee status or alternative protection, the woman appealed the decision to the administrative district court.

The court found that the woman could face persecution in Russia because of her religious views and as a Jehovah’s Witness.

In her application to the court, the woman rightfully referred to February 2019 events in the Siberian city of Surgut where at least seven peaceful Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered torture with electric shocks, suffocation and beatings in the building of the Russian Investigative Committee.

The court therefore ordered the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs to assign the woman status of a refugee. The ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

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