COURT EXTENDS TERM OF DETENTION FOR DANISH CITIZEN CHRISTENSEN
Website of Soviet district court of Orel, 20 July 2017
On 20 July 2017, the Soviet district court of the city of Orel extended the term of detention of a member of the Orel religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses and citizen of Denmark, D.O. Christensen, who is accused of committing a serious crime, provided by part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian federation.
The term of detention of D.O.Christensen was extended by 4 months, until 23 November 2017.
The order has not taken legal effect and may be appealed in the Judicial College for Criminal Affairs of the Orel provincial court. (tr. by PDS, posted 21July 2017)
DISTRICT COURT LEAVES MEMBER OF OREL JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN CUSTODY ANOTHER 4 MONTHS
SMNews, 21 July 2017
On 20 July 2017, the Soviet district court of the city of Orel extended the term of detention of a member of the Orel religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, until 23 November 2017.
The order has not taken legal effect and may be appealed in the Judicial College for Criminal Affairs of the Orel provincial court.
Earlier, D.O. Christensen stated that he resides permanently in Orel and he has family and real estate here and therefore he does not intend to flee from the investigation, while complaining about the conditions of detention in the SIZO. The Dane's attorney asked for the selection for him of a measure of prevention that does not entail incarceration. However the prosecutor's office spoke against cancellation of the current measure of prevention, and the court did not find grounds for releasing the preacher from custody.
We recall that in late May 2017, the UFSB of Russia for Orel province conducted investigation actions within the framework of opening a criminal case on the basis of part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF with respect to the leader of the local Orel religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, a citizen of Denmark, D.O. Christensen. As a result of questioning about 50 members of the local congregation, siloviki received evidence for the criminal case against the person of his participation in illegal activity.
On the basis of the decision of the Soviet district court of the city of Orel of 26 May 2017, the person was held in custody in SIZO-1 [pretrial detention cell], which was the first instance in Russia. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 July 2017)
COURT IN OREL DECIDES WHETHER DANISH BELIEVER WILL BE RELEASED FROM CUSTODY
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 19 July 2017
On 20 July 2017 at 10:30 will begin in the city of Orel a hearing on the future measure of prevention for a Jehovah's Witness who is guilty of nothing. He is a citizen of Denmark who has been languishing in an Orel SIZO since 25 May, simply because he read the Bible along with fellow believers. He is charged with violation of article 282.2 (Arranging the activity of an extremist organization).
The case of the Dane Dennis Christensen, who has already lived more than 10 years in the city of Orel, will be heard by the same judge, Svetlana Naumova, who earlier concluded that the only possible pretrial measure for the law-abiding Dennis was detention. The F.S.B. investigator who is conducting the case will ask the judge for the same harsh measure of prevention.
There is something strange in this case. Special bewilderment is provoked by the circumstances of the appeal hearing on the decision about detention, which was supposed to have occurred on 7 June 2017 in the Orel provincial court with Judge Igor Paukov presiding. The hearing was unexpectedly postponed until 21 June because of the lack of a Danish translator, although an article suddenly appeared in the official newspaper which said that "the Orel provincial court left without change the decision of the district court about detention of the citizen of Denmark." Such a "false start" leads to the suspicion that the decision had already been made and communicated to journalists of the official newspaper back before the court hearing with the participation of a translator, which occurred more than 10 days later, on 21 June 2017.
Yet another strange things is that the investigators continue to convince the court that the Danish subject allegedly was the leader of the forbidden local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Orel. Actually not only was he not ever the leader but he was not even a member of that organization, of which one can be persuaded by consulting official information.
Attorneys are continuing to work actively to prove the complete innocence of the believer. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 July 2017)
"MEMORIAL" RECOGNIZES JEHOVAH'S WITNESS BELIEVER FROM DENMARK, DENNIS CHRISTENSEN, AS POLITICAL PRISONER
The case against Christensen is one of the first in the campaign for persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.
Website of Memorial, 21 July 2017
A citizen of the kingdom of Denmark, Dennis Ole Christensen, a Jehovah's Witness believer living in Orel, is charged with committing the crime provided by part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF (arranging the activity of a religious organization with respect to which a decision has been made for liquidation because of conduct of extremist activity). According to the account of the investigation, Christensen was the head of a religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Orel.
Personnel of the F.S.B. arrested Christensen on 25 May 2017 during a meeting in a building on Zheleznodorozhnaia Street where Orel Jehovah's Witnesses were reading the Bible together. On 26 May Judge Svetlana Naumova of the Soviet district court of Orel ordered to choose for him a pretrial measure in the form of detention in custody.
The case against Christensen is one of the first in a campaign for persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, which sharply intensified after the Supreme Court on 20 April 2017 issued a decision recognizing the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia as an extremist organization. Moreover, Christensen was the first Jehovah's Witness in the modern history of Russia to be deprived of liberty because of his religious affiliation.
The order for the choice of the measure of prevention with respect to Christensen points out that he allegedly "conducted actions of an organizational nature aimed at continuation of the illegal activity of the Orel local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses and expressed in the calling of meetings of the Orel local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses . . . , arranging preaching activity, and disbursement of funds of the Orel local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.
From our point of view, the charges presented to Christensen only on the basis of the fact that he is a Jehovah's Witnesses believer are discriminatory and they violate international legal acts, in particular the right to freedom of religious confession. The decision of the Orel provincial court finding the Orel local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses to be extremist and the decision of the Supreme Court finding Russian Jehovah's Witnesses to be an extremist organization and banning its activity in the country do not have legal bases and they violate article 28 of the constitution of the Russian federation that guarantees the right to freedom of conscience and religious confession.
We demand that the persecution of Dennis Christensen and other Jehovah' Witnesses who are subjected to persecution for religious affiliation be immediately stopped.
Recognition of a person as a political prisoner or as persecuted for political reasons does not mean that "Memorial" agrees with his views and statements nor approves of his statements or actions. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 July 2017)
Harsh measure against Jehovah's Witness unjustifiedMay 31, 2017
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