Minsk: Protestant Pastor Antoni Bokun Arrested again
Antoni Bokun, the pastor of a Minsk-based Protestant community called St. John the Precursor Church, was grabbed by police while conducting a religious service in his house on Sunday, his second arrest in eight days.
As lawyer Syarhey Lukanin told BelaPAN, a police squad entered the house during what they described as an ‘unauthorized’ religious service and arrested Mr. Bokun. The minister was brought to the Tsentralny police department and then taken to the detention center on Akrestsin Street, where he was expected to spend the night. He is likely to stand trial on a charge of ‘organizing and conducting a religious meeting with permission’ on Monday.
Mr. Bokun was arrested on the same charge on 27 May. A judge of Tsentralny court of Minsk found the pastor guilty and imposed a $290 fine on him at a hearing the following day.
’Given pastor Antoni Bokun’s second arrest within a week and the fact that police officers were recording the license plate numbers of the cars entering the territory of New Life Church of Belarus’ Association of Full Gospel Christians on the morning of 3 June, one may say that the authorities have declared an open war on Protestants,’ Mr. Lukanin concluded.
Members of all Minsk-based congregations affiliated with the Association of Full Gospel Christians were scheduled to gather in a church on Sunday to pray for the democratization of the country’s religion law.