JW World Headquarters (21.11.2017) – http://bit.ly/2zaXygv – On November 20, 2017, a judge of the Sovetsky District Court of the city of Oryol ruled to extend Dennis Christensen’s pretrial detention until February 23, 2018.
Mr. Christensen, who has Danish citizenship and is married to a local resident, was arrested on May 25, 2017, at a Bible study meeting, which he was attending with his wife Irina. FSB officers investigating the case inaccurately claimed that Christensen “was continuing” the activity of the local religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Oryol, which had been liquidated by a court decision. However, he has never been a member of this organization, which the court could have easily confirmed by simply looking at the documents received from the local department of the Ministry of Justice. During the six months since Christensen has been detained, FSB investigators have interviewed dozens of residents of the Oryol Region and other areas in an attempt to find evidence that Christensen was engaging in unlawful activities.
After a three-hour hearing, Judge Andrey Tretyakov refused to change the measure of restraint to a softer one, such as house arrest. The court also ignored official guarantees from the Royal Embassy of Denmark, which under humanitarian considerations gave assurances that they would not provide Christensen with a new passport to replace the one seized by the investigators or assist him in traveling outside the Russian Federation.
The fact that the local religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city of Oryol was liquidated and its activities prohibited does not annul the right of “everyone” (not only Russian citizens) to freedom of religion, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation. According to the fundamental law of the country, everyone is guaranteed freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, including the right to profess individually or together with others any religion, to freely choose, possess and disseminate religious and other views and act according to them.
The main occupation of Dennis Christensen in Oryol was installing wooden structures. He was in Oryol for personal reasons, and not at the invitation of any organization. Dennis Christensen is completely innocent.
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