MAY 14, 2019
On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the Oryol Regional Court, the hearing began for Dennis Christensen to appeal the six-year prison sentence he received for practicing his faith. Thus far, this court has continued the pattern set by other Russian courts, refusing to consider properly what the defense lawyers feel is overwhelming evidence that Dennis is innocent. The three-judge panel may issue their decision on the appeal by the end of this week.
On the first day of the hearing, many brothers and sisters came to the courthouse to support Dennis. Also in attendance were diplomats from various countries, journalists, and human rights advocates. The hearing began in a small room that could only hold 20 to 25 people, so that about 50 more were denied access. However, the court granted a motion by Dennis’ attorneys to move the hearing into a larger room that could hold close to 80 people. The court adjourned after only three hours.
On the second day of the proceedings, the judges denied the defense’s request to re-examine a substantial amount of evidence of Dennis’ innocence. This is unfortunate, because Dennis’ lawyers are convinced the evidence would reveal that the original conviction was unjustified. At the end of the day, the court announced that the hearing will resume on Thursday, May 16, when closing arguments will begin.
We continue to pray that our brothers in Russia maintain their peace and firm faith in Jehovah’s promise that ultimately he will save them from those who treat them with contempt.—Psalm 12:5.