Pastor of ‘New Life’ Church fined for hindrance to officers of Ministry of Emergency Situations
Maskouski district court of Minsk fined the pastor of the New Life Church Viachaslau Hancharenka 420 000 rubles (about $147) for hindering the officers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations who examined the temple.
The formal reason for giving the charges was the case when the believers did not let the officers in their temple as a sign of protest against the policy of the city authorities.
The conflict between the Protestant community and the city authorities started in August 2005. At first the believers were deprived of the piece of land and then – of their temple (former cowshed at the outskirts of Minsk that was bought and reconstructed by the believers at their own expense). Since then the church pastor Viachaslau Hancharenka and its administrator Vasil Yurevich have been fined several times for holding unauthorized masses.
Later the believers went on a hunger-strike of protest. As a result the pastor was invited to the presidential administration and was promised that all issues would be solved for the benefit of the believers. However, this year the Supreme Economic Court upheld all earlier verdicts on the case New Life vs. the city administration, according to which the temple was to be confiscated from the religious community. In response the believers refused to let any state officers in the church.