Police Raided Pentecostal Service in Homiel
The police have drawn reports on Syarhey Mikalaenka, the pastor of the “Transfiguration” Pentecostal church, and five other church members and are forcing them to sign them.
Syarhey Mikalaenka told KRYNICA.INFO that on the 31st of May during the Sunday service which was taking place at the officially rented premises, a riot police squad broke in while shooting the gathering with a video camera.
The service was stopped. The police officers told that somebody had made a call using a payphone and told that “some crowd of people is holdig an unauthorized event”. The reports were drawn on Syarhey Mikalaenka, the pastor of the church, and other five parishioners without an explanation being given what offence had they commited.
“The police officers were asking the believers: “Why are you attending this church and not a normal or a right one?” The parishioners were subjected to psychological pressure, after which their personal data has been collected. Then everybody were ordered to leave the premises”, – said the pastor.
A week later, on the 7th of June, the pastor was contacted by police via the phone. The calling person did not introduce himself and demanded to come to the police precint and to sign the drawn protocol on a minor offence. No further explanation had not been given.
On the 8th of June the other parishioners had been contacted. They had been demanded to come to the precint to be interrogated on the subject of their pastor’s criminal case, being threatened with a criminal liability in case of not coming. One of the parishioners asked to specify the subject of interrogation and was answered “Why do you attend this church and not a normal one?”
The religious community “Transfiguration” of Homiel Pentecostals was registered in 2005. Before the described incident it did not face any obstacles from the aythorities.
Syarhey Mikalaenka, the pastor of the church, and the parishioners consider the incident as an “outrageous violation of constitutional rights” and will stand for their constitutional right for a freedom of conscience.
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