Dennis Christensen. Photo source: Simon Kruse / Berlingske

Criminal trial

The debate of the parties in the case of the Danish believer in Oryol may begin as early as January 21, 2019

Oryol Region

On January 21, 2019, the hearing in the case of Jehovah's Witness Dennis Christensen will continue at the Oryol Railway Court. Probably, on this day, the debate of the parties will begin, during which the representatives of the prosecution will declare what punishment, in their opinion, should be imposed on the believer. After the debate, the defendant will be given the last word and the court will retire to the deliberation room for sentencing.

On January 16, 2019, the court almost completed the judicial investigation of the case. Witnesses for the prosecution and defense were questioned, and the materials and evidence in the case were examined. The defendant presented his explanations to the court. The defense party filed petitions, the resolution of which was postponed until January 21, 2019. The parties confirmed to the court that they were ready to speak in the debate.

The charge against Dennis Christensen of "organizing the activities of an extremist organization" (Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) is based on a court decision to liquidate and ban the activities of a local religious organization (LRO) of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Orel. The believer himself denies any connection with extremism and insists on his complete innocence.

The hearing will begin on January 21, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in the Zheleznodorozhny District Court of Oryol at 45-a Maxim Gorky Street.

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