Forum 18, 28 May 2020
The Council of Churches Baptist congregation in the north-eastern city of Pavlodar – led by the 65-year-old Pastor Isak Neiman – meets for worship on private premises. It chooses not to seek state permission to be allowed to exist and meet.
About seven police officers raided the congregation during its Sunday morning meeting for worship on 29 March, claiming to be checking anti-coronavirus health measures. About 300 church members were present, according to the subsequent court decision. Officers told church members they had to disperse, which they did.
At the hearing, the following day, at Pavlodar’s Specialised Administrative Court, Judge Musabayev found Pastor Neiman guilty of violating anti-coronavirus health measures and issued him with a warning, but then fined him nearly two months’ average wages for leading an unregistered religious community meeting for worship without state permission.