Russian Protestants Appeal to the President for Protection

Source: (info), 04/07/11

· Freedom of conscience  · Amur region  · Khabarovsk region

On 1 July 2011 evangelical Christians from Kharabovsk and Amur regions published an appeal to Dmitry Medvedev to protect their constitutional rights and stop “the war against so-called ‘sects’ – a name that comprises all non-Orthodox religious groups, including Russian Protestants.”

The authors of the appeal reminded President Medvedev about the closure and banning in Khabarovsk region of the Church of Grace. They also reminded the president that Protestants are being persecuted in Blagoveshchensk and in particular pointed to the Blagoveshchensk municipal court’s decision to ban the members of the evangelical New Generation Church from using “medical techniques, including psycho-therapy or any other psychological techniques, that may influence people’s minds.”

The authors of the letter believe that that the decision to close the Church of Grace in Khabarovsk is “unlawful, biased and a crude violation of civil rights in our country.” They said the decision of the Blagoveshchensk municipal court was “especially dangerous because it carries the threat of a total ban on the activities of Protestant organizations in Russia, which, without a doubt, would constitute a crude abuse of human rights.”

“These precedents,” the letter states, “are evidence of a deliberate and planned misrepresentation of facts. We view what has happened as an attempt to malign the entire Russian evangelical community. The fabrication of cases in this way points to an escalation of religious intolerance and threatens the wellbeing of our country.”

The statement concludes: “We appeal to you to protect our religious rights and freedom of worship in our country. We ask you to take effective measures in defence of our rights and liberties, which the Russian Constitution guarantees.”

Source: Sova Centre