A Russian court on Friday found a Danish Jehovah’s Witness guilty of organizing a banned extremist group and sentenced him to six years in prison, Russian state media reported. The case has been condemned by rights groups as part of a broader crackdown on the religious group.
Russia’s Supreme Court banned Jehovah’s Witnesses as an extremist organization in April 2017. About a month later, the police detained Dennis Christensen, a Danish member of the Christian denomination, during a prayer service in the southwestern city of Oryol.
Mr. Christensen, who has lived in Russia since 1999, pleaded not guilty, saying he was exercising his right to religious freedom. He was sentenced to six years in prison, the state-run news agency Tass reported, citing Tatyana Tsukanova, a senior assistant to the prosecutor of the Orlov region.
Paul Gillies, a spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, said in an emailed statement that Mr. Christensen had been convicted “merely for practicing his Christian faith.”
“This verdict reveals just how fragile religious freedom has become in Russia,” he said, adding that the group would “continue to appeal for justice.”
“An innocent man who did not commit any real crime was convicted,” Yaroslav Sivulsky, a representative of the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said in a statement. “It is sad that reading the Bible, preaching, and living a moral way of life is again a criminal offense in Russia.”
Denmark’s foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that he was “deeply concerned” by the sentencing and called on Russia to respect freedom of religion. He said the Foreign Ministry would assist Mr. Christensen “should he decide to appeal.”
Russia’s push to outlaw Jehovah’s Witnesses was the culmination of years of lobbying by hard-line members of the Russian Orthodox Church, with whom President Vladimir V. Putin has developed close ties, and a growing suspicion of foreign-led groups. The Kremlin has enacted a series of strict measures on such groups over the last several years, targeting nonprofits and American-backed broadcasters, among others.
Founded in the United States, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted by Soviet security agencies for decades — scrutiny that was renewed under a 2002 anti-extremism law whose definition of “extremism” later expanded. Since then, the group has been at the center of a campaign to curtail religious groups that compete with the Russian Orthodox Church, and the authorities focused on its opposition to violence.
Over the past two years, Russian police have arrested scores of Jehovah’s Witnesses and raided prayer halls around the country, including the group’s offices near St. Petersburg. Hundreds of adherents have fled to Finland to avoid arrest.
Human rights groups have cast the case against Mr. Christensen as an example of Russia’s systematic persecution of the country’s 170,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“Prosecuting Jehovah’s Witnesses on extremism charges is a serious human rights violation,” Rachel Denber, the deputy Europe and Central Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. The group said that 22 Jehovah’s Witnesses are in custody in Russia, and 25 are under house arrest.
In a video Ms. Denber posted on Twitter from the Oryol courthouse before the verdict, Mr. Christensen can be heard saying, “I hope that today will be a day when Russia defends the religious freedom.”
He may have had cause for hope, given statements made by Mr. Putin in December. At the time, he expressed concern about the prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He said Russia “should treat the representatives of every religion equally,” although the authorities still had to consider “the country and world in which we live.”
But on Wednesday, Dmitri S. Peskov, a spokesman for Mr. Putin, told reporters that although he did not know the details of the case, the authorities “could not have done this simply for practicing religion,” according to the RIA news agency.
“By all appearances, there were some grounds for prosecution,” he said. “But since I don’t know them, I can’t tell you anything.”B:
本港台现场报码开奖结果入本【金】【武】【朝】【原】【本】【是】【漠】【北】【出】【名】【的】【游】【侠】，【一】【个】【人】【独】【来】【独】【往】，【结】【交】【了】【不】【少】【漠】【北】【豪】【杰】【之】【士】，【曾】【经】【和】【北】【苍】【狼】【也】【有】【过】【交】【集】，【是】【少】【数】【被】【狼】【王】【萧】【腾】【认】【可】【的】【人】。 【就】【实】【力】【而】【言】，【金】【武】【朝】【妥】【妥】【的】【一】【流】【上】【等】【高】【手】，【体】【力】【和】【力】【量】【是】【他】【的】【强】【项】，【内】【力】【也】【十】【分】【雄】【厚】，【一】【对】【肉】【掌】【纵】【横】【漠】【北】【十】【多】【年】，【罕】【有】【敌】【手】。 【这】【次】【金】【武】【朝】【被】【漠】【北】【王】【木】【默】【然】【召】【见】，【交】【代】【了】【试】
【洛】【元】【诩】【的】【经】【历】【也】【可】【以】【写】【成】【一】【部】【小】【说】【了】——【小】【人】【物】【的】【崛】【起】【史】。【可】【惜】，【他】【最】【终】【没】【有】【能】【够】【抗】【拒】【得】【了】【诱】【惑】，【作】【死】【了】【自】【己】【也】【作】【毁】【了】【自】【己】【建】【立】【的】【基】【业】。 【洛】【元】【诩】【死】【后】，【这】【个】【国】【家】【再】【次】【陷】【入】【战】【乱】【之】【中】，【各】【个】【势】【力】【开】【始】【征】【战】，【想】【要】【夺】【得】【那】【至】【尊】【的】【位】【置】。【不】【过】，【就】【在】【他】【们】【还】【在】【争】【夺】【那】【头】【鹿】【的】【时】【候】，【一】【股】【势】【力】【忽】【然】【出】【现】【了】。 【这】【股】【势】【力】【的】【人】本港台现场报码开奖结果入本【立】【刻】【大】【步】【走】【去】，【将】【两】【个】【女】【孩】【堪】【堪】【扶】【住】。 “【燕】【子】【今】【天】【喝】【成】【了】【这】【个】【样】【子】，【还】【是】【早】【点】【开】【间】【房】【间】，【让】【她】【休】【息】【吧】。”【尹】【如】【风】【扶】【着】【夏】【颜】【夕】，【有】【些】【担】【心】【地】【说】【道】，“【你】【哪】【里】【治】【得】【了】【她】【啊】！” “【那】【怎】【么】【办】……【难】【道】【让】【燕】【子】【一】【个】【人】【待】【在】【房】【间】【里】？【我】【怕】【她】【会】【自】【己】【把】【自】【己】【摔】【进】【马】【桶】【里】【的】！”【夏】【颜】【夕】【没】【有】【好】【气】【地】【说】【道】，【不】【是】【针】【对】【尹】【如】【风】，【而】【是】
【经】【过】【人】【脸】【识】【别】【数】【据】【库】【的】【信】【息】【匹】【配】，【警】【方】【很】【快】【就】【联】【系】【上】【了】【燨】【燨】【的】【父】【母】。【当】【他】【们】【得】【知】【女】【儿】【被】【找】【到】【的】【消】【息】【之】【后】，【感】【到】【十】【分】【震】【惊】，【因】【为】【燨】【燨】【已】【经】【失】【踪】【了】【将】【近】【两】【年】，【所】【有】【人】【都】【告】【诉】【他】【们】【俩】，【他】【们】【的】【女】【儿】【几】【乎】【不】【可】【能】【生】【还】。 “【老】【公】，【我】【没】【有】【听】【错】【吧】？”【燨】【燨】【母】【亲】【的】【双】【眼】【已】【经】【彻】【底】【地】【湿】【润】【了】。 【王】【学】【之】【立】【马】【拥】【抱】【住】【自】【己】【的】【妻】【子】，【同】
【车】【子】【在】【商】【场】【附】【近】【停】【下】。 【这】【里】【便】【是】【市】【中】【心】，【也】【是】【最】【繁】【华】【的】【地】【段】，【也】【是】【很】【多】【人】【选】【择】【的】【购】【物】【天】【堂】。 【不】【仅】【二】【十】【四】【小】【时】【营】【业】，【更】【是】【齐】【聚】【了】【各】【大】【品】【牌】，【和】【奢】【侈】【品】。 【秦】【书】【语】【下】【车】，【不】【解】【他】【为】【什】【么】【带】【她】【来】【这】【里】【走】【一】【走】？ 【刚】【下】【车】，【才】【发】【现】，【今】【天】【好】【像】【是】【什】【么】【日】【子】，【因】【为】【人】【特】【别】【多】。 【而】【且】【街】【边】【还】【有】【不】【少】【买】【玫】【瑰】【花】【的】【人】。
【等】【到】【这】【次】【事】【落】。 【郑】【会】【长】【稍】【后】【帮】【剑】【仙】【等】【人】【安】【排】【好】【了】【房】【间】，【先】【在】【沈】【家】【住】【下】【了】。 【江】【苍】【是】【琢】【磨】【着】【所】【谓】‘【化】【神】【兵】’【练】【法】，【准】【备】【去】【找】【住】【在】【东】【院】【的】【剑】【仙】，【看】【看】【能】【不】【能】【请】【教】【什】【么】，【且】【若】【是】【自】【己】【没】【有】【猜】【错】，【剑】【仙】【这】【般】‘【锋】【利】’【之】【气】，【元】【神】【境】【界】【就】【能】【打】【破】【虚】【空】【的】‘【破】【坏】【力】’，【应】【该】【就】【是】【化】【神】【兵】【造】【成】【的】。 【自】【己】【刚】【才】【可】【是】【见】【了】，【那】【种】【能】