Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

BELARUS: Detained for sharing faith on streets – June 14th

Forum 18, 12th June 2023 (excerpts)

On 1 June, police stopped a group of Baptists with a musical group from sharing their faith in the town of Drogichin in the south-western Brest Region.  They took Vladimir Burshtyn to the police station and held him overnight.  The following day, a judge held the closed hearing in the police station to prevent fellow-Baptists from attending and fined him a month’s average pension for organising an illegal event. 

“We thought the hearing would be open, but it was closed,” a local Baptist told Forum 18.  “It should have been open, but we weren’t surprised that they would not let us attend”.

Burshtyn has appealed against the fine to the Regional Court.  The Baptists are also gathering signatures on complaints to local, regional and national officials about how he and other Baptists were treated.

Burshtyn is a member of the Council of Baptist Churches, who do not seek state permission to exercise freedom of religion or belief.

Asked why preaching and singing in public places are illegal and require the authorities’ approval, the Drogichin Head of the Ideology Department, Svetlana Shchur asked, “What does it have to do with religion?  Vladimir Burshtyn was with a music band in a crowded public place.  What if somebody collapsed in the street?  They should have provided security and medical aid, by the Mass Events Law”.