Struggle in Jehovah's Witnesses
File photo of a Jehovah's Witness man on a street in the UK. Richard Baker via Getty Images.

SPAIN: Struggle in Jehovah’s Witnesses

This is the first time a religion has brought an action against dissidents in Spain. The Court of 1st Instance of Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid) will investigate whether the name of one of the associations undermines the honor of the religious group.

Originally published in Spanish on HUFFPOST.

The Court of 1st Instance of Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid) has started this week an unprecedented trial in Spain. Several members of Jehovah’s Witnesses denounced what they consider their dissidents, the Spanish Association of Victims of Jehovah’s Witnesses (AEVTJ).

It is the first time that a religion takes its dissidents to trial in our country, since they want a magistrate to be the one who orders them to remove the term victims from their name.

According to El Periódico de España, they explain that the term included by the AEVTJ is an unfair denomination and undermines their honor and that is why they demand the end of hostilities through publications on the internet and ask for rectification and compensation.

“We dare to publicly denounce their coercive practices”

On its website, the association explains that the former members “dare to publicly denounce the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ coercive practices, which range from the emotional and personal pressure of their faithful, to lack of dignity, the right to honor and privacy.”

“As a result of their dogmas, those of us who speak out show evidence of behavioral and emotional problems,” they criticize.

The trial will be divided into four sessions and will feature 24 testimonies, including that of a girl who has not spoken to her father for years.

According to a source close to the religious group, “during the trial a girl, who is a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and who has not spoken to her father for 17 years, which was the moment in which he was expelled from the community, will testify.”

The lawyer of the AEVTJ, Carlos Bardavío, also reports that Jehovah’s Witnesses are “a closed community, which rejects the relations of its members with the outside.” “They are forbidden to even read the news that is published about them,” he adds.

It will be in December when the trial is seen for sentencing and the magistrate must adopt a single decision in Spain, to know if the claims made by the religious group are true or not.

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