The European Evangelical Alliance expresses its serious concerns about the recent verdict of the Oryol court in the Russian Federation, declaring Danish Citizen Dennis Christensen guilty of ‘the organization of extremist activity’ and sentencing him to 6 years in prison. To the best of our knowledge, Mr Christensen has been convicted for the peaceful manifestation of his faith as a Jehovah Witness. Therefore, we cannot but conclude that the verdict of the Oryol court is a violation of Mr Christensen’s right to Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The European Evangelical Alliance fully respects the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, its history and its culture. At the same time, we call on all Russian authorities to respect and fully implement its Constitution and international human rights obligations, including the protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief. The Yarovoy-Ozerova act, the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation banning Jehovah Witnesses, and the afore mentioned decision of the Oryol Court all seem to violate these obligations.
The European Evangelical Alliance hereby expresses its deep concern about the deterioration of Freedom of Religion or Belief in the Russian Federation and expresses its full support for all religious leaders, politicians, and human rights activists defending and promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief for all.
The European Evangelical Alliance calls on all Christians, both in Russia and elsewhere in the world, to pray for all authorities across the Russian Federation to rule in justice and peace so that all people of good will “may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:2, NIVUK).
Wallisellen, Switzerland, 20 February 2019