Human Rights activists are alarmed over Russia’s sentencing of a Danish Jehovah’s Witness to 6 years in prison.
At a news conference in Moscow on Friday, a member of the Moscow Helsinki group, which promotes democracy in the country said Dennis Christensen’s case may set an example for other faiths.
“I think this situation is extremely alarming. This is a precedent which will give impetus to the following cases. And we will see a wave (of court processes) and I think not only against the Jehovah’s Witnesses”, said Valery Borshchev.
I think this situation is extremely alarming. This is a precedent which will give impetus to the following cases. And we will see a wave (of court processes) and I think not only against the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Yaroslav Sivulsky is the representative of the European association of Jehovah’s witnesses.
“A horrific situation has developed in Russia. Any person can be thrown into jail absolutely unexpectedly, as it happened with Dennis Christensen. Without any thought of the consequences, pointing at experts or at a deficient law, courts of every rank including the Supreme court, labeled 175 thousand decent people extremists. And now no one knows what to do with it”, he said.
Christensen was on Wednesday sentenced to 6 years in prison in Russia for organizing a banned extremist group.
Christensen’s lawyer, Anton Bogdanov, said the court could not prove that his activity was extremist and that such a severe punishment stemmed from vague Russian legislation.
There are 170,000 of Jehovah’s witnesses in Russian and 8 million around the world.
The Christian denomination is known for door-to-door preaching, close Bible study and rejection of military service and blood transfusions.