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Manoussakis and Others v. Greece, (18748/91) [1996] ECHR 41 (26 September 1996)

Facts: the applicants are 4 Greek Jehovah's Witnesses who live in Crete and who had rented rooms to serve as a temple for worship. Under the Greek Constitution, proselytism is forbidden, as well as setting up churches without written authorization from the local authority, which they claimed the authorities had made difficult for them. The police finally sealed off their rooms

Complaint: the applicants claimed a violation of Article 9

Holding:   the Greek legislation that led to the applicants' convictions restricted the activities of religious faiths outside of the Greek Orthodox Church and was not proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued and not necessary in a democratic society. The right to freedom of religion excludes any discretion of the State to determine whether religious beliefs or the means used to express such beliefs are legitimate.

 

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