Parents prosecuted for forcing girl to join religious group

Zlin, Czechoslovakia - A Czech couple is prosecuted for oppressing their 18-year-old daughter for her refusal to join the religious society of which they are members, the Zlin police told CTK Wednesday.

The parents reportedly urged the girl, a secondary school student, to join the Jehova's Witnesses grouping. After she refused to do so, they expelled her from home.

If found guilty they face up to six months in prison.

The parents left the girl without financial means. They told her she may return home only on condition she joins Jehova's Witnesses.

"The daughter has already come of age, but she does not yet work to earn her living, therefore the parents are still obliged to support her," police spokeswoman Jana Bartikova said.

She said the crime of oppression, when a perpetrator abuses the someone else's dependence or emergency situation to force him/her to do something, occurs only rarely in the Zlin region.

Jehova's Witnesses present themselves as genuine Christians.

The Christian churches generally consider Jehova's Witnesses a sect, oppose their interpretation of the Bible and criticise their totalitarian organisation and ways to spread their views.