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Begheluri and Others v. Georgia, No. 28490/02, ECtHR (Fourth Section), 7 October 2014


Large-scale violent interference with the religious practice of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Systematic inaction of the authorities in preventing and repressing acts of religiously motivated violence.

Normative references

Art. 3 ECHR 
Art. 9 ECHR 
Art. 14 ECHR 


1. Repeated acts of religiously motivated violence, whether physical or verbal, combined with the apparent tolerance and indifference on the part of the public authorities amount to inhuman and degrading treatment within the meaning of art. 3 ECHR (case in which the members of the religious community of Jehovah's Witnesses had suffered repeated attacks by extremist Orthodox groups with the connivance of the Georgian authorities).
2. The failure of the authorities to protect Jehova’s Witnesses from the violence and to prosecute those responsible for persecuting them amount to a violation of art. 9 ECHR, because had prevented the members of the community from practising their religion freely through worship, peaceful meetings and individual or collective observance.
3. The various forms of violence directed against the Jehovah’s Witnesses either by State agents or private individuals were instigated by a bigoted attitude towards the religious community. The very same discriminatory state of mind was at the core of the relevant public authorities’ failure to investigate the incidents of religiously motivated violence in an effective manner, which confirmed that the authorities at least tolerated that violence, thus violating art. 14 taken in conjunction with art. 3 and 9 ECHR.