JEHOVAH'S WITNESS FROM OREL—DANISH CITIZEN DENNIS CHRISTENSEN—SENTENCED BY RUSSIAN COURT TO 6 YEARS
Credo.Press, 6 February 2019
The Orel city court issued on 6 February the sentence of Jehovah's Witness, citizen of Denmark Dennis Christensen, imposing on him a penalty for his religious activity in the form of incarceration for a term of 6 years, to be served in a penal colony of general regime. This was reported by a rights advocate and member of Christian Action, Elena Sannikova, who arrived in Orel from Moscow in order to attend the announcement of the sentence.
On 5 February, Christian Action conducted pickets in defense of Christensen, who was being tried despite the principle of the freedom of conscience stated in article 28 of the constitution of the RF. "The term to which the Dane is sentenced," Christian Action notes, "by its severity shows that the proceedings are a show trial and their goal is intimidation of other adherents of this teaching."
Dennis Christensen was born in a family of Jehovah's Witnesses and became a fervent adherent of this teaching. He first arrived in Russia in the 1990s and gradually moved into the country for good. In Russia he met his wife, Irina, who is also a Jehovah's Witness. They moved to Orel in 2006. At the present time, Christensen has been in custody already for more than a year and a half (since 25 May 2017)
On the basis of part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF, Dennis is accused of participation in the life of a local religious community that was ruled to be extremist in 2016.
Later, on 20 April 2017, the Russian Supreme Court ruled that the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses and all 395 of its local organizations in the RF are extremist. Today, throughout Russia, no fewer than 80 criminal cases against Jehovah's Witnesses are being investigated and 53 believers of this religion are behind bars. Searches in homes of Jehovah's Witnesses, that have been conducted in cities and towns of Russia, have been sometimes very harsh: doors were smashed, people were forced to the floor, they were beaten. . . . The rights advocacy center Memorial recognized all of the detained Jehovah's Witnesses to be political prisoners. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 February 2019)
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