On February 7, 2019, observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expressed serious concern about the six-year sentence handed Dennis Christensen. They stated: “Mr. Christensen’s conviction and imprisonment for nothing more than peacefully practicing his faith is an unacceptable violation of the right to freedom of religion."
The co-rapporteurs “expressed their hope that Mr. Christensen’s conviction would be overturned without delay by the appeals court and called on the Russian authorities to release him pending an appeal."
The report emphasized that the European Court of Human Rights has already, on previous occasions, ruled in favor of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ right to worship without interference from the Russian authorities. In addition, the PACE organization itself has previously expressed concern about the abuse of the law on countering extremism by Russian officials. Thus, on April 21, 2017, PACE stated, among other things: “The recent decision of the Supreme Court to declare the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center in the Russian Federation an extremist organization, and to close it down, together with the 395 Local Religious Organizations used by Witnesses, raises serious concerns regarding freedom of religion in Russia and is another example of the legislation against extremism being abused to curtail freedom of expression and assembly.” (source).