Christians in Belarus fined over religious literature
Baptist Christians in Belarus have been repeatedly fined by the court in Lepel since mid-October for public singing and offering Christian literature to passers-by.
A complaint has been made that the police have been too rough in their handling of the Christians whilst detaining them, this complaint has been lodged with the ‘Investigative Committee’.
“I’ve been conducting the street library ministry for 16 years, offering Bibles, children’s literature and magazines for people to read and return,” said church member Andrei Fokin.
“Over the last 10 years we never had any conflicts.” A street library has been run in Lepel by church members since the 1990s and the last known disruption of it was in October 2004.
During one of the incidents, church member Andrei Fokin said that officers injured his face and put handcuffs so tightly on another church member that his hands went numb. He complained about this torture to the Prosecutor’s Office, but no police officer appears yet to have been brought to justice (see below).
The main Baptist body do not seek state registration as a matter of principle, according to Forum 18. Church members in Lepel have run the ‘street library for many years. Police previously disrupted it in October 2004.