Forum 18, 14th November 2023
On 17 October, Minsk City Court ordered the liquidation of New Life Full Gospel Church. The Minsk City Executive Committee had called in court for its liquidation because local courts had found some of the Church’s online materials “extremist”. They also claimed that the Church had conducted activity not set out in its statute. The Church has appealed to the Supreme Court against the liquidation decision, which does not go into force until the appeal is heard. No date has yet been set for the appeal hearing.
Courts have banned a range of religious materials as “extremist,” even though they do not call for violations of the human rights of others.
New Life Church continues its meetings for worship online or in borrowed churches. The regime ousted the Church from its own place of worship in February 2021 and bulldozed the building in June 2023.
All the legal and government authorities have refused to explain to Forum 18 why they had sought in court the liquidation of New Life Church.
New Life Church was founded in Minsk in 1992, gaining state registration in December of that year. The Church is a member of the Full Gospel Union and has been led since its foundation by Pastor Vyacheslav Goncharenko.
One New Life Church member suspected that the reason for the sudden eviction was that New Life recorded and on 21 November 2020 posted on its YouTube channel a video by church members protesting the regime’s violence against protestors objecting to election fraud.