Legal Victories and International Support

“We must get to the bottom of the truth.” In Surgut, the Head of the Human Rights Council Interviewed Witnesses Who Were Tortured​

On August 14, 2019, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC), met with local Jehovah's Witnesses in Surgut (Yugra) who officially announced the torture inflicted on them by law enforcement officers. The meeting was also attended by the head of the Investigative Committee in Yugra, the first deputy prosecutor of Yugra, the deputy chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Yugra, the deputy governor of Yugra and the mayor of the city of Surgut. On the part of the Witnesses, 28 people were present — victims, as well as members of their families who helped them cope with the psychological consequences of the experience. After the meeting, Mikhail Fedotov said: "My conclusion: We must get to the bottom of the truth. The President is very negative about the facts of torture. We remember his words that this is an absolutely unacceptable practice."

German Commissioner for Global Freedom of Religion Voices Concern Over Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

On May 24, 2019, Markus Grübel, the German Commissioner for Global Freedom of Religion, spoke in connection with the fact that the Russian appellate court upheld the sentence of Dennis Christensen.

Russian Ombudsperson Points to the Root of Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses

For the first time, Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova drew attention to the unjustified criminal prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses, and also pointed out the root of the problem.

UN Group Condemns Russia’s Abuse of Jehovah’s Witnesses

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has categorically condemned the arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses and demanded that Russia immediately free the worshippers. We publish the whole document in Russian.

Arkadya Akopyan's Case Terminated

On March 1, 2019, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria overturned a lower court’s conviction of Arkadya Akopyan. The decision takes effect immediately.

Babushkin Demands Halt to Surgut Tortures

Andrey Babushkin, Chairman of the Permanent Commission to Support Public Monitoring Commissions, Penitentiary System Reform, and Crime Prophylactic, directed his appeal to the Prosecutor General and the head of the Investigative Committee.

ECHR Imposes Interim Measures in Response to Torture Complaint From Surgut

On February 26, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Russian government to immediately send 57-year-old Sergey Loginov—one of seven Jehovah’s Witnesses who reported torture in the building of the Investigative Committee—for an independent medical examination.

International Memorial Defends Dennis Christensen

“This shameful and anti-legal decision brought Russia into line with countries notorious for its most odious regimes.”

Read more » Oryol Region

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Decries Dennis Christensen Sentencing

The statement urges Russia to drop all charges against Jehovah's Witnesses, to release all those detained and to revise the Federal Law on Combating Extremist Activity.

PACE Observers Called for Christensen Release Without Waiting for an Appeal

“Mr. Christensen’s conviction and imprisonment for nothing more than peacefully practicing his faith is an unacceptable violation of the right to freedom of religion."

Read more » France

“To Be Released Immediately and Unconditionally”—Statement by the European Union

A few hours after the announcement of the sentence on Dennis Christensen, the European External Action Service issued a statement.

Read more » European Union

International Joint Statement by 36 Civic Organizations in Defense of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

Human rights organizations from 18 countries urge the Russian authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all Jehovah's Witnesses in detention and to drop the charges for the involvement in extremism.

Read more » Moscow

Russia Files Observations With European Court in Glazov LRO and Others v. Russia

This application was filed on behalf of the 395 local religious organisations (LROs) that were liquidated by the Russian Supreme Court in April 2017 along with the Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.

Read more » Moscow, France

Russia Rejects Witnesses’ Request for Compensation Before ECHR

The Russian government’s position in the international court blatantly contradicts its position in domestic court.

Read more » Moscow, France

Vladimir Putin: “Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Also Christians. I Don’t Understand Either Why They’re Being Persecuted”.

“This is complete nonsense. We have to investigate this carefully”, Vladimir Putin commented regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses being included on the list of extremist organisations.

Read more » Moscow

USCIRF Recognises Russian Jehovah’s Witness as Prisoner of Conscience

On 26 September 2018, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) announced that Dennis Christensen was included on the list of “Religious Prisoners of Conscience”.

Human Rights Council Responds to Appeal of Wives of Men Arrested

The Prosecutor General’s Office was asked to verify the legality of the massive arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Council for Human Rights believes that this violates the Supreme Court decision.

Read more » Moscow

Over 60 Public Figures in Russia Demand End to Persecution

An appeal was published on 19 June 2018 and signed by well-known human rights activists, legal scholars, writers, historians and public figures.

Read more »

Appellate Court Reverses Decision to Ban “jw-russia.org”

On 30 May 2018, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria reversed a lower court decision about blocking the official information site “Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia”.

Danish Government As Third Party in Christensen v. Russia in European Court

On 15 May 2018, Denmark filed an application in the ECHR to be admitted to the case of Christensen v. Russia.