2019-02-07 10:24:00

EU demands that Russia immediately free Danish Jehovah's Witness sentenced for extremism

Brussels, February 7, Interfax - The European Union expects Dennis Christensen, whom an Oryol court has sentenced to six years in prison, to be released immediately and unconditionally, an official spokesperson of the EU Foreign Action Service said.

A communique released in Brussels on Wednesday states that Christensen "was arrested in 2017 when Federal Security Service agents raided a peaceful religious meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses in Oryol" and was convicted for organizing extremist activity.

The EU believes that Christensen's right to exercise freedom of religious was breached.

"A number of other criminal cases against Jehovah's Witnesses are also currently pending. No one should be imprisoned for peaceful acts of worship in the expression of their religious beliefs," the document said.

"The European Union expects Mr Christensen to be released immediately and unconditionally. Jehovah's Witnesses, as with all other religious groups, must be able to peacefully enjoy freedom of assembly without interference, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as by Russia's international commitments and international human rights standards," the document said.

According to earlier reports, the Oryol Zheleznodorozhny Court on Wednesday read a sentence to Christensen in the case involving the creation of a regional division of the organization Jehovah's Witnesses, which is banned in Russia.