Russian court sends Jehovah's Witness to prison for 6 years

Russian court sends Jehovah's Witness to prison for 6 years

Some publications of the Jehovah's Witnesses are also on a list of banned extremist literature.

The Zheleznodorozhny District Court in the city of Oryol found Dennis Christensen, who is from Denmark, guilty of "organizing the activity of an extremist organization", RFE/RL reported.

That ruling dealt a blow to the almost 400 chapters of Jehovah's Witnesses across the country.

A foreigner living in Russian Federation has received a six-year prison sentence for organizing the activities of a banned extremist organization, Reuters reported.

According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Christensen and 15 Russian citizens were arrested in Oryol at a Jehovah's Witness prayer meeting on May 25, 2017, when the Federal Security Service (FSB) raided the building. He had unlocked the entrance to the building and delivered a sermon that day but he was not a staff member of the organization, according Human Rights Watch.

The report said a lawsuit has been filed with Russia's Supreme Court to declare the national headquarters of the country's Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist organization but that there was no date for legal action.

Reuters interviewed Christensen in his jail cell during breaks in the trial.

Liam Neeson Can't Be Racist Because Of His Kisses, Michelle Rodriguez Says
Whoopi Goldberg has insisted Liam Neeson isn't racist in light of his recent controversial interview. I asked her, 'Did you know the person?' 'No.' 'His race?' She said he was a black man.

"Deeply concerned by the sentencing of Dennis Christensen".

More than 100 criminal cases have been opened against Jehovah's Witnesses, with another 24 people in prison awaiting or on trial and a similar number under house arrest.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there had been reasons for Christensen's arrest, but that he was unaware of the details of the case.

However, last December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual media Q&A session that branding the Jehovah's Witnesses as extremists is "utter nonsense", and promised to look into the prosecution of the group's members.

Christensen plans to appeal Wednesday's verdict. Before the verdict was announced, he shouted, calling for religious freedom to be protected in Russian Federation.

Yaroslay Sivulsky, a representative of the European Association of Jehova's Witnesses, said Christensen will appeal the decision. "It is sad that reading the Bible, preaching, and living a moral way of life is again a criminal offense in Russian Federation".

Related Articles