“New Life” church members ready to defend their building and pastor

2010 2010-08-18T17:21:30+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/logo_nj2.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Members of Minsk “New Life” church are set not to pay about 266 million BR fine.

They are also ready to defend their building and pastor Vyachaslau Hancharnka, stated the lawyer of the church Syarhei Lukanin in an interview to BelaPAN.

We remind that on July 12 the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the court of Maskouski district of Minsk of February 26 by which “New Life” New Life Church of the Religious Association of Christian Full Gospel churches in Belarus was fined 8.75 million rubles for pollution of the territory near the church building by oil products. Beside this sum, the congregation is to pay 8 million Belarusian rubles of state duty, which had been paid by Minsk city committee of natural resources and nature’s protection for reference to the court. On August 8 the general meeting of the church decided not to challenge the decision of the court, and also not to pay the fine of 265.75 million rubles.

As explained by Lukanin, the church finds decisions of the courts illegal and absurd, and the size of the fines exorbitant for the religious congregation. As said by him, over the last 5 years the church had paid about USD 10,000 in fines to the state. “However, we cannot pay huge fines for the damage to the environment, for which the church is not responsible at all,” the lawyer underlined. He reminded that the territory around the church building had been previously used by Kalinin collective farm for agricultural production, and later an unsanctioned industrial waste dump with parts of broken cars was situated there. Besides, as said by him, when taking soil samples, there were no attesting witnesses and representatives of the public.

As noted by Lukanin, as the decisions of the court have come into legal force, in the near future can arrest the bank account of the church. But according to the decision of the parishioners adopted three years ago, officials are banned entry to the church in the discharge of their duties, the lawyer said.

As said by him, the pastor of the church faces imprisonment up to 5 years for large-scale land damaging. “Believers would respond to actions of the authorities to seize the building of the church and arrest our pastor Vyachaslau Hancharenka appropriately,” Lukanin underlined.