Photo: Dennis Christensen

Criminal Investigation and Trial

Dennis Christensen Left in Pre-Trial Detention, Defense Motions Rejected

Oryol Region

On July 20, 2017, by the decision of the Sovetsky District Court of Orel, Danish citizen Dennis Christensen was left in a pre-trial detention center for another 4 months, until November 23. The court decided to extend his preventive measure as a criminal who committed a "serious offense", despite the complete absence of corpus delicti and victims.

The court rejected all of the defense's motions except one, for a public hearing. The judge did not agree to release the believer under house arrest with a bail of 1 million rubles, insisting that a peaceful believer should be isolated from society, although the investigation still cannot explain what his crime is.

The investigation continues to mislead the court by claiming that Christensen is the leader of the banned local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Oryol. In fact, he was never even a member of this organization.

The trial was attended by numerous foreign observers, including the Danish Vice-Consul and Danish and German media representatives.

The believer's lawyers are preparing an appeal.

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