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

MOSCOW — A regional court in western Russia has sentenced a Danish Jehovah’s Witness to six years in prison.

The court in Oryol on Wednesday found Dennis Christensen, who was leading the local Bible reading, guilty of extremism, making him the first Jehovah’s Witness in Russia to have been sent to prison.

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.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had no comment on the verdict.

The Associated Press