Protestant Pastor Viachaslau Hancahrenka addresses President Lukashenka with open letter

2010 2010-03-03T03:10:37+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

In this letter Viachaslau Hancharenka, pastor of the Protestant Church New Life, calls on the head of the state to establish a commissions on resolution of the conflict between the church and the Minsk authorities.

Mr. Hancharenka proposes Aliaksandr Lukashenka to include in the commission representatives of the latter, officers of the Minsk OSCE office, representatives of human rights organizations and the heads of the Protestant confessions of Belarus.

The stated reason for the open letter is the economical sanctions amounting to 271,5 million rubles (about $93,620) for the alleged ecological harm (pollution with oil products of the piece of land owned by the church).

The letter reads that the Protestant community considers itself innocent as it doesn’t own the any industrial aggregates that could inflict significant harm to the environment.

Hancharenka also informs that on receiving the piece of land the believers removed the unsanctioned dump of worn-out car details and bodies. The pastor also draws Lukashenka’s attention to the fact that the analyzed samples of soil were obtained by officers of the Minsk city committee of natural resources and environmental protection with ‘gross process violations’, including violation of the norms of the Process Executive Code of the Republic of Belarus on administrative offences and Presidential decree of 15 November 1999.

The protestant community considers as ‘unlawful and contradicting to the common sense’ the verdict of the Maskouski district court in Minsk by which the church was found guilty of soil pollution and reserved the right to appeal against it. Mr. Lukanin also states that the community exists at the expense of the believers’ fees, conducts and active charitable work and has no means to pay the compensation and fine.

On behalf of the believers Mr. Hancharenka also expressed the hope that the conflict ‘would be solved in strict conformity with the laws of the country as well as the divine laws’ with the observance of the legal rights of the believers.

Bear in mind that on 26 February 2010 Alena Shylko, Judge of the Maskouski district court in Minsk fined the church 8,750,000 rubles (about $3,017) for environmental pollution and in December 2009 the ecological department of the Minsk city executive committee demanded from the Protestant community to pay about 263 mln rubles (about $90,690) as a compensation within two-month term.