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EU Criticizes Russia Over Jehovah's Witnesses Ban

FILE - Jehovah's Witnesses wait in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, April 20, 2017. Russia's Supreme Court has banned the religious group from operating in the country.

The European Union is criticizing Russia over its nationwide ban on the Jehovah's Witnesses religious denomination, saying all must be able to practice their religion without interference.

Tuesday's EU comment follows the ruling of the Russian Supreme Court, which rejected an appeal against the ban.

The rejection of the religious group's appeal allows Russia to liquidate the 395 Jehovah's Witnesses congregations and seize their property. The group claims about 170,000 adherents in Russia.

The EU said: “Jehovah's Witnesses, like all other religious groups, must be able to peacefully enjoy freedom of assembly without interference.” It added that Russia was bound by its constitution as well as its international commitments to provide such guarantees.