Tajik court bans Jehovah's Witnesses

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) - A spokesman for Tajikistan's security services says a court has ordered the banning of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the Central Asian country.

The official says a military court found that the Jehovah's Witnesses illegally imported religious literature and claimed in their charter to be part of an international organization and thus exempt from religious laws.

The Jehovah's Witnesses' activities were suspended for three months in June over their alleged failure to obey religious laws.
Authorities imposed the ban permanently at a court hearing this week.

The U.S. State Department says religious freedom in Tajikistan has declined over the last year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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