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Inside Penal Colonies and Detention Centers

Dennis Christensen's release from the colony postponed: the prosecutor's office appealed against the decision, the believer thrown into the special isolation ward

Oryol Region,   Kursk Region

On June 26, 2020, the Kursk Prosecutor for the Oversight of Correctional Services appealed the court decision on mitigation of punishment to Dennis Christensen. On the same day, the colony staff illegally placed him for 10 days in a special detention facility designed for malicious violators of prison rules.

The defence challenges both the appeal submission by the Public Prosecutor's Office and the decision to place the believer in a unified cell-type room. However, all this means that Dennis Christensen will not be able to leave the colony for many more weeks.

On June 23, 2020, the Lgov District Court of the Kursk region ruled to soften Kristensen's sentence by replacing the unpaid part of the sentence with a fine of 400,000 rubles. Remarkably, that during the trial, the prosecutor supported the believer's petition to replace the prison sentence with a monetary fine.

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