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Posted on April 19th, 2012, by

The Shunned by Jehovah’s Witnesses case raises issues related to the violation of human rights, especially in regard to the privacy of an individual. In this respect, it should be said that the case raises the issue of emotional distress as the plaintiff suffers from the intentional isolation from the community and people she get used to communicate with. The isolation of the plaintiff and limitation of her possibilities to communicate with the community naturally leads to profound psychological problems, emotional sufferings and, what is more important, it is absolutely unjust in relation to the plaintiff as a citizen, i.e. a civilian person.

In such a situation, the plaintiff justly brought suit in the court alleging common law torts of defamation, invasion of privacy, fraud, and outrageous conduct. In this respect, it should be said that the plaintiff decision is based on the existing legal norms which allow her to protect her rights. To put it more precisely, the common law protects any person from harm to their reputation by false and derogatory remarks about their person, which are actually known as defamation. In this respect, defamation can be traced in the classification of the plaintiff as disassociate. In the Jehovah’s Witnesses community the identification of an individual as a disassociate is equal to the definition of a defamation because a person who is considered to be a disassociate undergoes the procedure of repulsion by the community, while his or her reputation is totally ruined because he or she is perceived by the community as a stranger, if not to say, hostile stranger. Moreover, the disassociation of an individual is irrevocable and, hence, the court trial is the only way to restore the reputation of the plaintiff in the case of Shunned by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Furthermore, the invasion of privacy is also obvious since the plaintiff’s right of privacy is apparently violated as the Jehovah’ Witnesses administration introduced regulations which interfere into the private life of individual, regulate their private life and behavior and, thus, limits their rights. In case of the plaintiff, the norms and regulations developed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses forbidden members of the community to communicate with her, even though people could and apparently did want to communicate with her and maintain positive interpersonal relations which they had before the disassociation of the plaintiff. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the Privacy Act of 1974, which protects an individual’s privacy. In terms of this act, unreasonably including upon the seclusion of solitude of the plaintiff is unacceptable. Hence, the plaintiff cannot be isolated from the community against her will and the will of people.

Moreover, it is necessary to underline that in the case of Shunned by Jehovah’s Witnesses it is possible to trace elements of fraud since the existing norms of Jehovah’s Witnesses in relation to disassociated persons were changed to exclude the plaintiff from the community and prevent members of the communicate with her. In this respect, it should be said that, originally, her status as a disassociate person allowed her to communicate with other people and the later communicated with her gladly, until the decision of Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders.

Finally, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the Jehovah’s Witnesses rules provoked outrageous conduct and violated the basic rights of the plaintiff as well as members of the community because the rules limit their personal liberty and privacy right, depriving them of a possibility to communicate with people they want.

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