Call to Denmark to advocate for the release of Dennis Christensen
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We wish to appeal to Denmark on behalf of Mr. Dennis Christensen, a Danish citizen who was unjustly arrested and detained in Oryol, Russia, for exercising his right to freedom of religion and/or belief and his right to freedom of worship, and freedom of assembly.
Mr. Christensen was placed under arrest following a police raid on the evening of 25 May 2017. The authorities disrupted a peaceful religious service of Jehovah’s Witnesses, collected copies of identification documents of all attendees, and seized their electronic devices.
Mr. Christensen’s arrest was executed after a decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on 20 April 2017 which prohibited Jehovah’s Witnesses from practicing their religion and categorised them as an extremist organisation. Mr. Christensen’s arrest violates the protections afforded to him under international law. Such an action cannot be justified as being necessary or proportionate.
We are concerned that the Russian Federation is not complying with its obligations as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Mr. Christensen will remain under pre-trial detention until his trial on 23 July 2017. If convicted, he could face a sentence of six to ten years of imprisonment.
As Denmark continues to engage with the Russian Federation via their embassies, diplomatic, and economic and trade talks, we urge them to advocate for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Christensen.
Human Rights Without Frontiers International
Learn more about Freedom of Religion or Belief in Russia and the recent ban on Jehovah's Witnesses:
Learn more about Freedom of Religion or Belief globally on our website: http://hrwf.eu/
Created in Brussels in 2001, Human Rights Without Frontiers International (HRWF Int’l) is a non-profit association that seeks to shape European and international policy in ways that strengthen democracy, uphold the rule of law and protect human rights globally.
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