Tension as Russian court jails Jehovah’s Witness member, bans group

Tension as Russian court jails Jehovah’s Witness member, bans group

- A Russian Court has sentenced one Dennis Christensen to six years imprisonment

- Christensen, a member of the Jehovah's Witness was found guilty of organising a meeting of a banned group

- Jehovah's Witness has been tagged an extremist group in Russia

- However, Danish foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, has called on Moscow to respect religious freedom

A Russian court has jailed one Danish Jehovah’s Witness member, Dennis Christensen, for six years after he was found guilty of organising a banned extremist group.

The Guardian reports that Christensen was detained by armed police in May 2017 at a prayer meeting in Oryol.

This is following the ban of the group by Russia’s Supreme Court which described the group as extremist and ordered that it be disbanded nationwide.

Christensen has pleaded innocent claiming he was only exercising his freedom of religion which is enshrined in the country’s constitution.

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However, he was found guilty by the court on Wednesday, February 6, for organising a meeting of a banned group.

The Danish foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, called on Moscow to respect religious freedom and criticised it for classifying Jehovah’s Witnesses as a terrorist group.

It was reported that “more than 100 criminal cases have been opened against Jehovah’s Witnesses, with another 24 people in prison awaiting or on trial and a similar number under house arrest. Some of their publications are on a list of banned literature.”

Yaroslav Sivulsky who is a representative of the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, claimed the verdict evoked the atheist Soviet.

He said: “In essence we have returned to Soviet times. It’s sad that in the 21st century people are being jailed for holding what the authorities believe to be the wrong beliefs."

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Recall that a report by the US Today says Russia's justice ministry is demanding that the Christian sect, Jehovah’s Witness be termed an extremist organisation.

The report said a lawsuit has been filed with Russia’s Supreme Court to declare the national headquarters of the country's Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization but that there was no date for legal action.

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