27 October 2020, 18:14
Russian court rejects appeal from Jehovah's Witness from Denmark on replacing remaining prison term with fine
Kursk, October 27, Interfax - The Lgov District Court in the Kursk Region of Russia has turned down a petition filed by Dennis Christensen, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a religious organization outlawed in Russia, on mitigating his sentence by replacing the remainder of his prison term with a fine.
"The Lgov District Court of the Kursk Region has declined the petition due to the convict's unstable behavior at the penitentiary," the court said in a report.
The court's ruling has not yet taken legal effect and may be appealed.
A statement posted on the website of the Jehovah's Witnesses says the court based its ruling on Christensen's refusal to work in the prison workshop, even though Christensen's health does not allow him to take such a job.
Christensen was detained in 2017 in a building on Zheleznodorozhnaya Street in Oryol, where the local Jehovah's Witnesses held Bible readings. A local court ruled to take him into pretrial custody on May 25, 2017. The Zheleznodorozhny District Court in Oryol ruled in February 2019 to find Christensen guilty of organizing the activities of an extremist group and sentenced him to six years in a general-security penitentiary.
The Lgov District Court in the Kursk Region ruled in June 2020 to replace the remainder of the prison term that Christensen had yet to serve with a fine of 400,000 rubles. However, the Kursk Regional Court overturned this ruling and ordered a new hearing in September 2020.
The Russian Supreme Court ruled on April 20, 2017 to grant the Justice Ministry's motion on outlawing the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia as an extremist organization. The Supreme Court's Appeals Board upheld the ruling on July 17, 2017.
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