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OCTOBER 4, 2017
RUSSIA

Appellate Court Rules to Keep Dennis Christensen in Pretrial Detention

On September 28, 2017, after a three-hour hearing, the Oryol Regional Court denied an appeal to release Dennis Christensen, a Danish citizen who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He will remain in pretrial detention until November 23, 2017.

During Mr. Christensen’s hearing in July, a lower court unjustly extended his detention until November, presumably to allow the prosecution to gather “evidence” against him on charges of extremism. Mr. Christensen’s lawyers filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and on September 4, 2017, the ECHR began its examination of the case by sending a series of questions to Russia concerning the violation of Mr. Christensen’s rights.

Mr. Christensen’s case is receiving international attention because it is one of the first cases since the Soviet era in which Russia has imprisoned a Witness merely for practicing his faith.