Hrodna: Orthodox priest to be tried for refusal from fingerprinting

2012 2012-06-11T17:09:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

An Orthodox Christian priest in Hrodna will stand trial on 12 June for his refusal to be fingerprinted by police.

Mikalai Haiduk, the priest at the Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, is accused of disobeying officials’ orders. His case will be heard in the city’s Leninski District Court.

Several Orthodox Christians have been brought to court earlier this year after refusing to comply with the compulsory fingerprinting requirement. Many Christians fear that the objective of the national campaign is to introduce biometric passports, which they view as the devil’s work.

According to "Viasna", Father Mikalai was charged with the offense after refusing to present himself at the police station in his area for the fingerprinting procedure.

The charge sheet reads that the priest refused to be fingerprinted after police visited his home, which he says they never did, according to the report.

On 30 March 2012, the Holy Synod of the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church issued a statement to comment on the fingerprinting requirement, expressing fears that it can potentially violate the people’s rights to privacy, safety, and respect for their honor and dignity, while failing to drive crime rates down.