Imprisoned and not convicted Jehovah's Witness loses appeal for release


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 21 June 2017


On 21 June 2017, the appeals court considered as justified the most harsh measure of prevention for a peaceful, meek man, Dennis Christensen, who has already spent 4 weeks in an Orel SIZO simply for the fact that he read the Bible within a circle of brothers and sisters in faith. After hearing the court's decision, many in attendance in the courtroom were unable to restrain the tears.


F.S.B. investigators are conducting an investigation regarding Dennis, accusing him of "arranging activity of an extremist organization." Insisting on the harshest measure of prevention, law enforcement personnel falsely told the court that Dennis Christensen, a Danish subject, allegedly was the leader of a forbidden local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Orel. Actually not only was he never the leader, but he was never a member of this organization. Lawyers are continuing vigorous work in order to prove the complete innocence of the believer. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 June 2017)



Official organ of Russian government publishes verdict of trial in case of Danish Jehovah's Witness arrested in Orel, although there was absolutely no trial

by Anton Chivchalov

Portal-Credo.Ru, 14 June 2017


In connection with the fact that the campaign against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia is gathering momentum, recently there occurred one extremely significant affair. As already reported, in the city of Orel, Danish citizen Dennis Christensen is languishing in a SIZO [pretrial investigation cell], whose only fault was that he prayed and read the Bible with friends. Gallant troops of the F.S.B. in masks blockaded women and children and tied up Christensen and placed him in the isolation cell (for some reason they even posted a video that recorded their own violations). The Soviet district court of the city of Orel selected for the Dane a measure of prevention in the form of retention in custody for a term of two months as "a dangerous extremist." It is this way that nowadays several believers are being treated, simply because they profess the "false religion of Jehovah's Witnesses."


And subsequently amazing things have been happening. Mr. Christensen and his lawyers, Irina Krasnikova and Anton Bogdanov, are appealing the decision about the imprisonment in the Orel provincial court. The session of this court was supposed to occur on 7 Juneā€”and it did not occur. The reason: a translator could not be found for the defendant, for whom it is difficult to participate in a case in Russian. The hearing was postponed indefinitely and a date for a new session is still unknown.


However, on 10 June not just somebody but the official organ of the Russian government, Rossiiskaia Gazeta, reported, and I quote: "The Orel provincial court left without change the decision of the district court regarding the arrest of the Danish citizen." But there was no trial! The government organ writes about a nonexistent trial as if about an existent one and it even cites its decision. What is going on?


The cause is obvious to everybody who understands how such cases are fabricated. The decision was prepared for the court beforehand in one of the influential organizations (perhaps even the most influential in the contemporary Russian federation), which is coordinating all operations against the Jehovah's Witnesses, whether planting compromising materials, tapping phones, "masked-shows" in houses of worship, and the like. In that same place, apparently, the corresponding news report was written for Rossiiskaia Gazeta and it was written beforehand with the required verdict. And some employee, whether out of carelessness or out of fatigue after a long day's work of hunting for "extremists," delivered this "news" to the paper (perhaps even before 7 June), and the paper published it as if nothing had happened, without even checking.


As a result, the government newspaper, which owns the right of official publication of laws and governmental acts, did not simply publish fake news, news about a nonexistent incident in the style of the street press. It also pulled the rug out from under the F.S.B. and at the same time the Orel provincial court also. We now know that the verdict of the court was written beforehand and if there had been a trial on 7 June it could only have been like what RG wrote and like nothing else.


It is not so important whether the decision to leave Christensen in custody is correct or not (although no Jehovah's Witness in Russia has been treated in such a way since the 1980s). This proves the very fact that all decisions are being made unilaterally within the ministry that is seeking out (or more often inventing) "extremists," and the courts are assigned the role of ventriloquist's dummies. The fake news has been posted on the RG website for several days as if nothing happened. Nobody now is interested in the reputation of the chief government publication.


By the way, it is not out of place to believe that the "historic" decision of the Russian Supreme Court of 20 April was made in accordance with the same algorithm, is it?


However, the falsehood of the Rossiiskaia Gazeta and its correspondents in civilian clothing does not conclude with what has been written. In the very same sentence we read that Dennis Christensen "heads the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses." And this is an outright lie: the Dane not only does not head this organization, but he never has been a member of it. It is obvious that the F.S.B. is interested in the Orel Dane simply because he is a foreigner.


What actually happened in Orel? Dennis Christensen has lived in Russia for more than 10 years. Friends know him as an outgoing and peaceful person, infinitely removed from extremism. He has never been held accountable on the basis of extremism articles, he has not distributed forbidden literature, and he has not been a member of prohibited religious organizations. His only "guilt" consists in his coming from Europe, where Jehovah's Witnesses have a reputation as law-abiding citizens, to Russia, where they have suddenly become equated with criminals, in order to help his fellow believers, and then he married a Russian woman. For almost a month already he has languished in the SIZO without a trial and investigation, on the basis of a completely fabricated case, based on false information dreamed up in the F.S.B. and spread by government means of disinformation. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 June 2017)

Background articles:
Danish Jehovah's Witness remains in Russian jail
June 13, 2017

Harsh measure against Jehovah's Witness unjustified

May 31, 2017
Severe treatment of foreign Jehovah's Witness in heart of Russia
May 27, 2017
Danish citizen arrested in connection with raid on Jehovah's Witnesses
May 26, 2017

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,