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Russia: Activists To Defend Religious Freedom


Moscow, 4 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - More than 20 religious and human rights groups have formed an All-Russian Movement for Freedom of Conscience and a Secular State.

RFE/RL Moscow correspondents quote representatives of the new movement as saying Russia's religion law has already led to numerous cases of discrimination in the month since it took effect. They cite attempts to remove a judge from the city court of Noyabrsk in the Tyumen region, to revoke the registration of a Lutheran mission in Khakassia, and to deny registration to a Jewish congregation in Bryansk.

Anatoly Pchelintsev, the director of the Institute of Religion and the Law, also criticized attempts to organize Russian Orthodox congregations within the armed forces, which, he said, should be secular. Pchelintsev yesterday told RFE/RL that the new movement is preparing appeals against the religion law to the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court.
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