Jehovah’s Witness member jailed 6 years for extremism

jehovah witness

A Russian court has sentenced a member of a Christian group, Jehovah’s Witnesses, to six years in prison for what it termed extremism, AFP reports.

The conviction is the first of its kind in Russia since the group was outlawed in 2017.

The convicted Jehovah’s Witness, Dennis Christensen, a citizen of Denmark, was in court when he was handed his sentence in the southern Russian city of Oryol.

Spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, Yaroslav Sivulskiy, told AFP, “We deeply regret the conviction of Dennis Christensen — an innocent man who did not commit any real crime.

“It is sad that reading the Bible, preaching, and living a moral way of life is again a criminal offence in Russia.”

A statement from the group’s head office says that the verdict will be appealed within 10 days.

An AFP photographer outside the courtroom saw 46-year-old Christensen being led past a mass of supporters by police officers after the verdict.

Amnesty International and other rights activists have condemned the trial.

Christensen was detained in May 2017 shortly after the group was labeled an extremist organisation.