Posted by: becketfund | October 6, 2008

Kazakhstan: Unregistered Worship Leads to Months in Prison

ESILE – Baptist pastor Andrei Blok may face up to four months in prison for refusing to pay a fine for leading an unregistered church that is part of the local Council of Baptist Churches, Forum 18 reported on October 6. The Council of Baptist Churches claims that this incident is the latest in the local authorities’ “economic war” against them. The police chief of Esile admitted to Forum 18 that Blok is being persecuted for his unregistered religious activity. Targeted pastors are required to fill out an intrusive questionnaire about the ethnic composition of their congregations. Local Baptists hold that the fine on Blok is “unfounded and illegal.” However, a judge who has ruled on similar cases is quoted as saying, “The Baptists still go on holding their meetings – no one is really pressuring them.”

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