Dennis Christensen, a Jehovah's Witness accused of extremism, leaves after a court session in handcuffs in the town of Oryol, Russia January 14, 2019. He was detained by police in late May 2017, becoming the first Jehovah's Witness to be arrested after the Supreme Court's controversial ruling.
Al Jazeera's Rory Challands reports from Moscow.
According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Christensen and 15 Russian citizens were arrested in Oryol at a Jehovah's Witness prayer meeting on May 25, 2017, when the Federal Security Service (FSB) raided the building.
Jehovah's Witnesses are the target of an anti-extremism crackdown by the Russian state, which has banned much of its religious literature as extremist material.
In a report a year ago, Human Rights Watch accused the Russian authorities of carrying out a "sweeping campaign" of harassment and persecution against the movement.
Yaroslav Sivulsky, a spokesperson for the Jehovah's Witnesses, told Reuters that they consider the verdict to be unjust.Читайте также: Acting U.S. attorney general will testify before House panel
Reuters interviewed Christensen in his jail cell during breaks in the trial.
Earlier in the day, the court of the Russian city of Oryol convicted Christensen, who continued to head the community after it had been banned by the national legislation, of illegal religious activity.
"Deeply concerned by the sentencing of Dennis Christensen".
Almost 100 members of the group face charges in Russian Federation, and more than 20 of them are in jail awaiting trial. His lawyers believe the verdict is unreasonable and will be appealing the decision.
In turn, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov promised to look into the situation with Christensen.
As a member of the Council of Europe and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, Russia is obligated to protect the rights to freedom of religion and association. "It's shocking that in post-Soviet Russia authorities are putting people through the ordeal of a criminal investigation and prison for nothing more than peacefully practicing their faith". "It is sad that reading the bible, preaching, and living a moral way of life is again a criminal offense in Russia", Sivulskiy said in a public statement on Wednesday.При любом использовании материалов сайта и дочерних проектов, гиперссылка на обязательна.
«» 2007 - 2019 Copyright.
Автоматизированное извлечение информации сайта запрещено.
Код для вставки в блог
- Albert Finney dead: Celebrated actor dies aged 82
- Bahraini footballer to spend more months in Thai jail
- Ten dead in fire at football club ground in Brazil
- Nikola Mirotic reportedly headed to Bucks
- $900m drug bust exposes Mexico-Australia cartel ties
- Nick Foles Informs Eagles He Will Buy His Way Into Free Agency
- Edinburgh weather: Storm Erik to bring 70mph gusts and heavy rain
- Magic believe ‘sky's the limit’ for Markelle Fultz
- Equine flu crisis: biggest shutdown since foot and mouth hits racing
- Body taken from wreckage identified as Emiliano Sala