The events described in the following report began over a year ago. However, we did not receive correspondence with details regarding the court victory until late April 2020. You are about to read a disturbing account of exactly how representatives and elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses tried to intimidate and frighten a child in order to regain control over the adult members of a local Kingdom Hall. Their story follows – exactly as reported to us by the victims…
The story of our exit from the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses began in 2019.
On March 6, 2019, in a letter, I informed the body of elders of my congregation that my family and I were no longer Jehovah’s Witnesses, and emphasized, “You are kindly requested not to disturb our family with questions and visits.”
But after some time the elders called my son, who has not come of age yet and said: “Rafael, your parents have become apostates. Do you also want to leave Jehovah?”
The tearful child ran up to me and started asking questions. In fact, we had not told our son anything; we wanted to prepare him for the changes in our life gradually as we were afraid it would traumatize him. In this situation, however, I was somehow able to calm my son down. Nevertheless, he was psychologically injured by the phone call and the way the elders tried to put pressure on him, a young child.
After that, I strictly warned JWs representatives that if they called my son one more time I would act. And after two days they called him again! Because of this, I had to sue the organization. According to the laws of our country, it is prohibited to involve a child who has not come of age into religious activities without the consent of both parents. As a result, the lawsuit was titled, “Religious Pressure on a Minor Child.”
I had all the phone calls with the elders recorded and I gave them to the court as evidence. But the court ruled to stop the case due to “the expired period of submitting the case to court.” It appeared that according to the law the period from the moment the plaintiff applies to the court for an investigation to submitting the case is only 2 months, and it was overdue. But at the same time, in the court ruling, there was a notice that during the hearing the defendant was found guilty.
Representatives of Jehovah’s Witnesses were dissatisfied with having been found guilty by the court and filed an appeal. But the court ruling of the first-instance remained the same. After that, I filed another civil lawsuit for court expense compensation and moral damage compensation to a child.
Before the hearing Watchtower lawyers suggested that we settle the deal without one more hearing. As a result, we signed a mediation agreement through the court. According to the agreement, the defendant pleads guilty and voluntarily agreed to pay court expenses to me and moral damage to my child. The case ended in October 2019. Simultaneously, we were preparing a more serious lawsuit.
There also was a second lawsuit about “Recovery of Moral and Financial Compensation for Causing Grievous Harm to Health.” We started the court process at the beginning of December 2019. We prepared thoroughly. My wife and I underwent a special examination in The Forensic Examination Centre. The conclusion that grievous harm to health had actually been caused was unanimously made by a group of doctors and psychiatrists with Ph.D.’s.
During the examination of Watchtower literature in cities of Astana and Almaty, they discovered a cause and effect relationship. As a result, there were nine (9) case hearings in the first-instance court. The court examined the materials in great detail. The experts were interrogated. At the request of the Watchtower lawyers, some current JWs were interrogated too. They were all my former close friends and my brother. The interrogation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses appeared to be a complete failure of their defense.
Their lawyers had not expected such a high level of preparation from us. Among the materials, there also was Watchtower literature which had been previously examined. The literature is partly prohibited to be delivered to the territory of Kazakhstan. Watchtower claimed it had been me who had illegally brought the books and brochures to the country and that none of Jehovah’s Witnesses had given them to me. But during the interrogation of the current JWs, it was determined that they had the same literature too and that they had received it through their congregation but not from me.
Apparently, Watchtower lawyers had not expected such a turn in the case and it was evident that they realized their failure. On March 10, 2020, the court announced the decision in our favor! Although the sum of the compensation was smaller, we legally beat them. And it is a serious and dangerous precedent for the Watchtower in Kazakhstan.
This second court case was a civil lawsuit. Now we are preparing to file criminal lawsuits against all of the heads of LRC in Kazakhstan. In other words, we are getting ready for the third court. LRC stands for “Local Religious Community.” There are about 50 of them in the country. According to the conclusion of the second court, we have proof that these Local Religious Communities illegally bring the partly prohibited literature to the territory of Kazakhstan.
We also intend to sue LRC heads for organizing their activities in a way that involves moral and psychological influence on the minds of their adherents (with a measure of restraint according to the results of the second court).
We also found out that the Committee on Religions had examined Jehovah’s Witnesses’ literature in Kazakhstan perfunctorily, almost without reading. Therefore, we are going to request the Ministry to provide us with all the materials of the examination.
We are planning to organize one more examination and report everything that happens to mass media through regular press conferences. Our main and ultimate goal is to put an end to the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kazakhstan.