Mon, 17 Jun 2019

A court in Russia on May 23 ruled to uphold a six-year prison sentence for a Danish adherent of the banned Jehovah's Witnesses, a decision condemned by Amnesty International.

Dennis Christensen was detained in May 2017 in Oryol, some 320 kilometers south of Moscow.

A Russian court in February sentenced him to six years in prison in a case condemned both in Russia and abroad.

Russia banned the Jehovah's Witnesses in 2017, declaring the group an "extremist organization."

A court in Oryol on May 23 ruled on his appeal.

'The three-judge panel denied the appeal and upheld the six-year sentence he received in February,' Jehovah's Witnesses spokesman Jarrod Lopes said in a statement.

Lopes said 197 Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia are facing criminal charges. Twenty-eight 28 men and women among them are being held in pretrial detention and 24 are under house arrest, Lopes said.

Amnesty International slammed the court action in Oryol as "an affront to the rights to freedom of religion and association."

"The authorities missed an opportunity to overturn the grim injustice done to Dennis Christensen, who was thrown behind bars solely for exercising his right to freedom of religion and peacefully held belief. Dennis Christensen should be immediately and unconditionally released," said Natalia Prilutskaya, Amnesty International's Russia researcher.

With reporting by Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

More St Petersburg (Russia) News

Access More

Sign up for St Petersburg News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!