On February 6, 2018, a Russian court sentenced Danish citizen Dennis Christensen to a six years jail term for his participation in the activities of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a banned group, in Russia. We have received credible reports that, after the sentencing of Christensen, police is carrying out a new crackdown in various Russian provinces, arresting more Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been “liquidated” in 2017 under accusations of “extremism.” These accusations are either false or based on arguments, such as that Witnesses claim to represent the only true religion or that when one spouse only joins or leaves the Witnesses divorce is frequent, that can be applied to most religions in the world and in Russia.
CESNUR joins the European Union in demanding “Mr Christensen to be released immediately and unconditionally” and Jehovah’s Witnesses “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.”
Torino, Italy, January 8, 2019