OREL DISTRICT COURT POSTPONES HEARING ON DENNIS CHRISTENSEN CASE
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 13 June 2017
On 7 June, a review of the appeal of the Jehovah's Witness and Danish citizen Dennis Christensen on the decision for a two-month detention in custody was supposed to occur in the Orel district court.
The district court postponed the hearing because a translator from the Danish language for the defendant could not be found. The date of a new session has still not been set.
On 10 June the Rossiiskaia Gazeta reported that the Orel district court supposedly confirmed the decision of the court of a lower instance regarding keeping Christensen in custody. This information does not accord with reality, since the hearing was not held.
Dennis Christenson was arrested on 25 May 2017 during a group study of the Bible with his fellow believers. This short, peaceful man faces up to 10 years of incarceration on an accusation of "arranging the activity of an extremist organization." (tr. by PDS, posted 17 June 2017)
WHILE LANGUISHING IN SIZO, DENNIS CHRISTENSEN AND HIS FELLOW BELIEVERS RECEIVE THANKS FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 14 June 2017
Authorities of the city of Orel awarded recognition to local Jehovah's Witnesses for their active participation in cleaning up trash from the territory of the city. The believers were scheduled to receive thanks from the city administration and a gift book with the inscription: "In gratitude for good work—cleaning up trash for the benefit of people and nature." The precious gift was signed by the city administration.
Wherever they live, Jehovah's Witnesses strive to provide benefit for neighbors not only by distribution of biblical knowledge but also by participation in various forms of socially useful activity. This is also the civic position of Dennis Christensen, one of the Orel Jehovah's Witnesses who participated actively in the clean up. Standing knee-deep in the cold waters of the river Orlik, he used a net to pull trash from the river. All the work was conducted without pay.
In view of this, it seems especially paradoxical that Christensen has languished for almost three weeks now in the city SIZO [pre-trial investigation cell] on the basis of falsified charges of organizing an extremist society. Believers are dumbfounded that it was this society that, in the opinion of city authorities, produced a benefit for the city. Cleaning up trash was the last good deed that Dennis managed to do while at liberty.
It is noteworthy that a representative of the Orel administration sympathized with the Jehovah's Witnesses because of the religious persecutions in the country and urged them not to lose heart. (tr. by PDS, posted 17 June 2017)
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