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AKIPRESS.COM - Russia's Supreme Court has accepted the government's request to designate Jehovah's Witnesses as an outlawed religious group, deeming it to be an extremist organisation, BBC reported.
The justice ministry argued that the group had distributed pamphlets which incited hatred against other groups.
Lawyers representing the group reject the claims and say they will appeal.
The denomination says it has 175,000 members in Russia - a country where it was persecuted during the Stalin era.
An estimated eight million people worldwide are part of the Christian-based movement, best known for going door-to-door looking for new converts.
Practitioners of the faith argue that it means their activities from now on will be criminalised.
The justice ministry urged the court to close the group's national headquarters near St Petersburg, Russian news agencies reported, in addition to banning some of its "extremist" publications.