Christensen receives official European support


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 7 February 2019


Several hours after the announcement of the sentence of Dennis Christensen, the Foreign Policy Service of the European Union circulated a declaration in connection with the sentence.


"Today a Russian court in Orel sentenced Dennis Christensen, a citizen of Denmark, to six years in prison. His accusation of 'organizing extremist activity,' is, in essence, that he, as a Jehovah's Witness, exercised his right to freedom of religious confession. A number of other criminal cases opened against Jehovah's Witnesses are waiting," the declaration says, and it states the conclusion: "Nobody should be put into prison for the peaceful observance of the precepts of his religion. The European Union considers that Mr. Christensen should be released immediately and unconditionally." (tr. by PDS, posted 7 February 2019)



Novosti Orla, 7 February 2019


A corresponding statement was made by the European Service of Foreign Relations:

"The European Union expects that Mr. Christensen will be released immediately and unconditionally. Jehovah's Witnesses, like all other religious groups, should have the possibility of peacefully exercising freedom of assembly without interference, which is guaranteed by the constitution of the Russian Federation and also by international obligations of Russia and by international standards in the area of human rights," the declaration states in particular.


We recall that concern regarding the guilty verdict of the Dane yesterday was also expressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Anders Samuelsen.


On 6 February, the Zheleznodorozhny district court of the city of Orel issued a guilty verdict against Danish citizen Dennis Christensen, on the basis of part 1 of article 282.2 of the CC RF (arranging the activity of an extremist organization) and it imposed on him a penalty in the form of six years of incarceration to be served in a correctional labor colony of general regime.


Dennis Christensen was arrested in Orel on 25 May 2017, during a group reading of the Bible, which local Jehovah's Witnesses conducted in a building on Zheleznodorozhnaia Street.


*The local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Orel was ruled to be extremist and liquidated on the basis of a decision of the Orel oblast court of 14 June 2016, which was left without change by an appellate determination by the Judicial College for Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 18 October 2016. (tr. by PDS, posted 7 February 2019)

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