Russia's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal of its nationwide ban on the Jehovah's Witnesses religious denomination.
The court on Monday rejected all defense motions, including one to have a religious studies scholar testify on its behalf.
The ruling means the group will have to close the doors at its headquarters in St. Petersburg and at some 395 local chapters across the country. It's properties, known as Kingdom Halls, will be handed over to the Russian government.
"While we were prepared for a negative ruling, it is still very disappointing," Jehovah's Witnesses spokesman David Semonian said. "It's very concerning that despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, powerful elements within Russia continue to frame our organization as extremist.''
Viktor Zhenkov, a Russian attorney for the group, said Monday's ruling would be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, according to the Interfax news agency.
The group claims about 170,000 adherents in Russia, and an estimated 8 million followers worldwide, best known for going door-to-door looking for new converts.