Photo: Oryol Courthouse

Criminal Investigation and Trial

Oryol Regional Court Left Innocent Believer in Custody

Oryol Region

On June 21, 2017, the Court of Appeal found justified the most severe measure of restraint for a peaceful meek man, Dennis Christensen, who had already spent 4 weeks in the Oryol pre-trial detention center just for reading the Bible with his brothers and sisters in faith. Hearing the court's ruling, many of those present in the hall could not hold back their tears.

FSB investigators are investigating Dennis, charging him with "organizing the activities of an extremist organization." Insisting on the most severe measure of restraint, law enforcement officers inaccurately informed the court that Dennis Christensen, a Danish citizen, was allegedly the head of the banned local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Orel. In fact, he was never not only a leader, but also a member of this organization. Lawyers continue to work actively to prove the complete innocence of the believer.

Case of Christensen in Oryol

Case history
Dennis Christensen is the first Jehovah’s Witness in modern Russia to be imprisoned only because of his faith. He was arrested in May 2017. The FSB accused the believer of organizing the activities of a banned organization on the basis of the testimony of a secret witness, theologian Oleg Kurdyumov from a local university, who kept covert audio and video recordings of conversations with Christensen about faith. There are no extremist statements or victims in the case. In 2019, the court sentenced Christensen to 6 years in prison. The believer was serving time in the Lgov colony. He repeatedly asked for the replacement of part of the unserved term with a fine. For the first time, the court granted the request, but the prosecutor’s office appealed this decision, and the prison administration threw the believer into a punishment cell on trumped-up charges. Christensen developed illnesses that prevented him from working in prison. On May 24, 2022, the believer was released after serving his sentence and was immediately deported to his homeland, Denmark.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Oryol Region
Locality:
Oryol
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, together with the others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as “organising the activity of an extremist organisation” (with reference to the court’s decision on the liquidation of the local organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses)
Court case number:
11707540001500164
Initiated:
May 23, 2017
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
UFSB of Russia in the Oryol region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-37/1
[i18n] Рассмотрено судом первой инстанции:
Железнодорожный районный суд г. Орла
Judge:
Алексей Николаевич Руднев
[i18n] Суд апелляционной инстанции:
Орловский областной суд
[i18n] Суд апелляционной инстанции:
Льговский райсуд Курской области
Background