WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

"Putin's ban on Jehovah's Witnesses isn't the act of a strong leader, but of a deeply insecure and mean-spirited autocrat.  I strongly condemn this decision, the latest example of Putin ignoring the freedoms enshrined in Russian law and his international obligations.  This ban on a religion is a chilling reminder of dark days from Russia's past.  It will only serve to isolate Putin further and stifle the tremendous potential of the Russian people."