Photo: Dennis Christensen

Inside Penal Colonies and Detention Centers

Danish citizen Dennis Christensen will remain in the penal detention center for an additional 5 days. The center's management has, once again, fabricated baseless violations of prison protocol

Oryol Region,   Kursk Region

On July 6, 2020, when Dennis Christensen was about to leave his cell for alleged protocol violations, the prison authorities extended his detention for another 5 days. The reason for this was another ungrounded accusation of violations - a late rise from sleep and unauthorized communication with prisoners.

Dennis Christensen, a Danish citizen and resident of Oryol, sentenced to 6 years in prison, was illegally placed in a punishment cell on June 26, 2020, three days after the decision of the Lgov district court of Kursk Region on his early release in exchange for a fine. The formal reason for this was two reports that he was in the dining room for a meal at the wrong time and that he also did not wear a prison jacket over his T-shirt.

Earlier it was reported that Christensen was sent to a single cell type facility (EPKT), a special isolation facility for persistent violators of the prison regime. However, this information was not confirmed. Christensen himself told his lawyer that he was brought to the EPKT building and was given clothes with patches of this special isolator. However, he was not told where he was. Later it turned out that Christensen wasn't placed in the EPKT, but in a punishment cell (SHIZO) located in the same building.

In order to prolong Christensen's detention in the isolation ward, the colony's administration once again resorted to fabrication. According to the new reports, the believer violated the wake-up time and also carried out "inter-cell communication". In an interview with his lawyer, Dennis called the charges ungrounded.

Before the decision to prolong Dennis Christensen's detention at the SHIZO, the reports of violations were discussed by a special prison commission, during which the believer was not provided with an interpreter, depriving him of the right to sufficiently understand what was happening. The commission also failed to conduct a medical examination of Christensen, which, due to his illness, it was obliged to do both before being admitted to the SHIZO and before extending his sentence.

"Already after the decision to extend the stay at the SHIZO a doctor came to Dennis. Christensen told him about all of his complaints, especially the fact that he has difficulties breathing and his neurological diseases became more intense. The doctor replied: "It's not fatal, your pulse is good." This was related by one of the lawyers of the believer after talking to his client.

As the defense lawyer explains, the violations against Christensen are fabricated in order to gather "support evidence" for the appeal the court decision on mitigation of punishment to the believer, has no real facts that would prevent Dennis from going free. Back in June 2019, after serving half of his prison sentence, Christensen was eligible for early release.

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