Dennis Christensen again denied early release


It had previously substituted a fine for his remaining sentence

Credo.Press, 26 October 2020


On 26 October, the Lgov district court of Kursk oblast refused to substitute a fine for the unserved portion of his prison term for the Dane Dennis Christensen. The court cited Christensen's unwillingness to work in prison production, although such labor is contraindicated for him because of the condition of his health, a correspondent for the portal Credo.Press reports, referring to a source among Russian Jehovah's Witnesses.


Exactly four months ago, this same court, with a different membership, ordered Christensen's release. That decision was made in response to a petition from the believer, submitted after he had served more than half of the term imposed by a court, and he had received the right of requesting a mitigation of his punishment.


However soon, because of a request from the prosecutor, the Kursk oblast court overturned this decision and returned the case for a new review. As a result, Dennis Christensen not only did not get his legal freedom, but he was faced with additional pressure on the part of the administration of the Lgov penal colony. In September, a prison commission, without reasonable basis, determined that Christensen was a "malicious violator" of the regimen. He was regularly forced to perform kinds of work that are contraindicated for medical reasons, and three times, without basis, he was placed in a punishment cell (SHIZO). This served as a basis for filing negative character references in court and impacted the decision on the question of his release. In all, the believer spent 37 days in the SHIZO.


The citizen of Denmark was placed behind bars in May 2017, because he professed the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, and in April of that same year the Russian Supreme Court had ruled that all 396 religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the R.F. were extremist and it liquidated them. In February 2019, the Zheleznodorozhny district court of Orel sentenced Christensen to six years in a penal colony of general regime. As of the present, Christensen has served about 4.5 years of the prison term imposed by the court.


This first Russian prisoner of conscience from among the Jehovah's Witnesses has received expressed support from observers of the P.A.C.E., the United Nations commissioner for human rights, the kingdom of Denmark, the Council on Human Rights under the Russian president, and other well known organizations. "The accusation and prison confinement of Christensen merely for professing his faith is an unacceptable violation of the right to freedom of religious confession," the observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (P.A.C.E.) declared. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 October 2020)

Background information:
Prosecutor frustrates hope for freedom for Jehovah's Witness Dennis Christensen
September 5, 2020
Russia Religion News Current News Items

Editorial disclaimer: RRN does not intend to certify the accuracy of information presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the articles as they appeared in news media of countries of the former USSR.

If material is quoted, please give credit to the publication from which it came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted electronically, please include reference to the URL,