Homel Police Detain Participants of Meeting with Pastor Sabila
On 26 August in Homel several civil society activists were seized by the police at a meeting with the pastor of an outlawed Protestant church Ernest Sabila. The pastor of the Belarusian Evangelic Church came to the city to meet with members of the Frantsishak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society. Held at the city`s office of the United Civic Party, the meeting was attended by about 20 people.
The police officers attempted to enter the office at 6 p.m., saying that a robbery suspect was allegedly in the house. The activists refused to open the door, prompting the policemen to call reinforcements. The police burst into the office 10 minutes later, ordering all of the people inside to show their documents.
Seven people, including a member of the pro-government Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM), were taken to a district police department after the document check. They were released without charges a few hours later. 75-year-old Sabila was not detained.
Belarusian Evangelic Church was closed down by a court ruling in September 2005.