Russian court sends Jehovah’s Witness to prison for 6 years

National Court News

A regional court in western Russia on Wednesday sentenced a Danish Jehovah’s Witness to six years in prison, in arguably the most severe crackdown on religious freedom in Russia in recent years.

The court in Oryol found Dennis Christensen guilty of extremism, making him the first Jehovah’s Witness in Russia to be sent to prison.

Christensen was detained during a police raid on a local prayer meeting he was leading in May 2017.

“I do not agree with this judgment, it’s a big mistake,” Christensen told reporters after the sentencing in the city of Oryol. His wife Irina Christensen added: “I’m really sad that such a thing is happening in Russia, very sad. The same thing could happen to any of us.”

The verdict was met with consternation around the world including from the U.S. Embassy, which expressed its concern and urged Russia to respect individual’s religious freedom.

Russia in recent years has used its vaguely worded extremism laws to go after dissenters, opposition activists and most recently religious minorities. Russia officially banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017 and declared the religious group an extremist organization.

Nearly 100 members of the group face charges in Russia, and more than 20 of them are in jail awaiting trial. Before the ban, the world headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses claimed about 170,000 adherents in Russia.

Related listings

  • Cancer the latest health woe for resilient Justice Ginsburg

    Cancer the latest health woe for resilient Justice Ginsburg

    National Court News 12/25/2018

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is resting in a New York hospital following surgery to remove two malignant growths in her left lung, the third time the Supreme Court’s oldest justice has been treated for cancer and her second stay in a hospital in...

  • Supreme Court won't hear case over California beach access

    Supreme Court won't hear case over California beach access

    National Court News 09/29/2018

    The Supreme Court is refusing to hear an appeal from a California billionaire who doesn't want to open a road on his property so that the public can access a beach.The justices said Monday that they will not take up Vinod Khosla's appeal of a Califor...

  • 3 hurt in court shooting leave hospital; gunman identified

    3 hurt in court shooting leave hospital; gunman identified

    National Court News 09/18/2018

    The wife of a gunman killed after he opened fire at a Pennsylvania municipal building Wednesday said in a social media post that she was OK but did not say whether she had been injured in the shooting.Crystal Dowdell, 39, posted on her Facebook accou...

USCIS to Continue Implementing New Policy Memorandum on Notices to Appear

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is continuing to implement the June 28, 2018, Policy Memorandum (PM), Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens (PDF, 140 KB).

USCIS may issue NTAs as described below based on denials of I-914/I-914A, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status; I-918/I-918A, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status; I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Violence Against Women Act self-petitions and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions); I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions when the beneficiary is present in the US; I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant; and I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (with the underlying form types listed above).

If applicants, beneficiaries, or self-petitioners who are denied are no longer in a period of authorized stay and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA. USCIS will continue to send denial letters for these applications and petitions to ensure adequate notice regarding period of authorized stay, checking travel compliance, or validating departure from the United States.