Danish Believer Takes the Stand in the Case Against Him in Oryol

Деннис Кристенсен выступает с объяснениями. Январь 2019

Dennis Christensen confirmed that he practices the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He analysed the motives imputed to him by the investigation, pointed out inconsistencies in the charges, exposed the secret witness for the prosecution and said that he was innocent.

His religion and motive. “It is true that I am an elder”, he admitted to the court. He denied, however, the accusation that he is the “organiser” of the religious services. Christian meetings are an expression of Christian love on the part of everyone who attends.

Has belief in Jehovah been banned? Christensen read an excerpt from the Russian Supreme Court decision: “The rights of participants in the LRO of Jehovah’s Witnesses “Oryol” to freedom of worship will not be violated, because they are not deprived of the ability to observe and manifest religious acts not involving the distribution of extremist religious literature.” Then Christensen asked: “If the Supreme Court says it is lawful for believers, including former members of the LRO to carry out and practice religious acts, why am I charged as if these actions are unlawful in my case?”

Secret recordings of telephone conversations. “The FSB was secretly listening for nine months”, said Christensen, “and I had no idea they were doing this. Throughout that time I did not once attack anyone’s reputation or encourage genocide, persecution, breakup of families, violence or anything else of which I am accused. … The phrase ‘local religious organisation’ was not even mentioned in any of my telephone conversations.”

Secret witness exposed. “His real name is Oleg Kurdyumov. He is a professor at Oryol State University”, said Dennis Christensen. “Kudryumov was commissioned by the FSB to use a hidden camera to record religious services, then, also at the request of the FSB, made an audio recording of our conversations. Since the audio and video recordings he obtained did not contain any information indicating that I had committed a crime, Kudryumov decided to supplement them with his own imagination, giving testimony under a pseudonym. I feel such conduct is unbecoming of a university professor.”

“Honourable court, I would like to emphasize that unlike the prosecution, I never considered these peaceful religious services to be a continuation of the activity of the liquidated LRO”, Christensen concluded, “I never had any intention of committing a crime”.

Case of Christensen in Oryol

Region:
Oryol Region
Locality:
Oryol
Case number:
11707540001500164
Current stage:
verdict took effect
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)
Article of the Russian Criminal Code:
282.2 (1)
Investigating:
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Oryol Region
Case initiated:
23 May 2017
Number of the case in court:
1-37/1
Considering on the merits:
Zheleznodorozhnyy District Court of the City of Oryol
Judge:
Aleksei Nikolaevich Rudnev
Appellate Court:
Oryol Regional Court

Persons in the case

Timeline

19.02.2018, 21.02.2018 В Железнодорожном районном суде г. Орла началось предварительное слушание по уголовному делу Денниса Кристенсена, Свидетеля Иеговы по вероисповеданию, обвиняемого в «организации деятельности экстремистской организации». Адвокаты ходатайствовали об исключении из дела недопустимых доказательств.
03.04.2018 На заседание суда собрались десятки человек, включая друзей Денниса и местных журналистов. Кристенсена вывели в зал заседания в наручниках. Судья Алексей Руднев дал Кристенсену дополнительное время на ознакомление с уголовным делом, но не позволил подробнее ознакомиться с вещественными доказательствами: видео, фото и изъятыми при обысках предметами. После заседания у присутствующих было несколько мгновений, чтобы сказать Деннису слова поддержки.
23.04.2018 Прокурор следственного отдела прокуратуры Орловской области юрист 1 класса Иван Фомин огласил обвинение. Оно изобилует настолько общими фразами, что, по словам Кристенсена, он так и не понял, в чем его обвиняют. Адвокаты подсудимого подчеркнули, что последствия запрета организаций Свидетелей Иеговы не должны нарушать право человека на свободу вероисповедания. Обвинение не представило описание мест и времени совершения предполагаемых преступлений, способов, последствий и прочего, что нужно для вынесения приговора.
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