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Criminal Investigation and Trial

The detention of a believer in the city of Oryol has been extended for another 5 months

Oryol Region

The detention of Dennis Christensen, a Dane who has been held in pre-trial detention for about 9 months for about 9 months due to the fact that he professes the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, has been extended until at least August 1, 2018. The decision to extend the arrest on February 22, 2018 was made by Alexei Rudnev, judge of the Zheleznodorozhny District Court of Orel.

Meanwhile, on February 26, 2018, the start of the main hearings in the criminal case against Denis Christensen is scheduled. He is accused of continuing the activities of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, which was liquidated by the court. In fact, Christensen has nothing to do with this organization. He was merely exercising a right that "everyone" is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, namely the right to have religious beliefs and act in accordance with them.

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.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Oryol Region
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:
May 23, 2017
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
UFSB of Russia in the Oryol region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
[i18n] Рассмотрено судом первой инстанции:
Железнодорожный районный суд г. Орла
Алексей Николаевич Руднев
[i18n] Суд апелляционной инстанции:
Орловский областной суд
[i18n] Суд апелляционной инстанции:
Льговский райсуд Курской области
Case History