Leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses appear to be foundation Reclaimed Voices to avoid requests for files and apparently refuse to be in contact with us.
More than two months ago, 13 did people through a foundation Reclaimed Voices and lawyer Nico Meijering a request for files at the legal department of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Netherlands. After some reciprocal communication, there was not much movement in the case. Michel van Hilten, who is both a spokesperson and a lawyer for Jehovah's Witnesses, insisted that those involved should send a copy of their ID proof. This to show that they really were who they said they were. At the end of March we decided to follow the procedures he proposed.
Nico Meijering indicated that we could handle this ourselves. We have asked the persons concerned to send a copy of their ID. On April 1, a first email with 5 copies of ID documents in the attachment was sent to Jehovah's Witnesses. We requested that there be a search for records / information about those involved, which is kept at the branch office and in local congregations. We wanted to have this sent by registered mail to the office of Nico Meijering.
In the week that followed we received some copies and on 8 April a second email followed to Van Hilten. This time we asked for confirmation that the sent copies had been received in good order. We also asked for an indication of how long it would take before we could expect the information at the Meijering office.
On 13 April our lawyer received a mail from Michel van Hilten in which he seems to complain that suddenly "a third party" asks for the files. The name Reclaimed Voices is not mentioned. Van Hilten indicated that they "cannot respond to similar requests that reach us through other third parties." We were pretty angry! All the more because we were involved as a party from the start.
On 15 April, therefore, another email from us went to Michel van Hilten. We have refuted his arguments, we again asked for confirmation of the receipt of the IDs sent to them and an indication of the transmission of information. The tone was no longer mild. We gave them a deadline for an answer - directly to us - and threatened to request the files through the courts if necessary. We knew that representatives of Jehovah's Witnesses had a conversation with employees of the ministry yesterday, which is why we informed about the course of events on Monday.
The deadline was that we wanted an answer no later than Wednesday 18 April. They have responded, but again to our lawyer and not to us. There is at least a confirmation that the copies of ID certificates are in their hands.
It seems that Jehovah's Witnesses are doing everything to get around or get out of the way. They keep their doors closed for us for the time being. Let us hope that there will still be movement in the case through our lawyer and the ministry. We will continue in any case.