Baptists Fined in Eastern Ukraine, Detained and Beaten in Uzbekistan

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(Evangelical Focus) Pro-Russian rebels seized parts of Ukraine’s Luhansk Region in March 2014 and the following month proclaimed what they called the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), which currently controls about a third of the region.

The unrecognized LPR has banned worship in all Protestant churches and … courts punish individuals who lead worship meetings in defiance of official bans.

According to news agency Forum18, of the six known cases in 2019, all of them from various Baptist denominations, two have been fined about one month’s average wages each, one was given a 20-hour community work order and the other three were left with no punishment.

The rebel Luhansk authorities argue that religious communities that have not undergone local registration are illegal, but Pastor Igor Bandura of the Ukrainian Baptist Union told Forum 18 that their congregations applied for registration before the deadline and were all rejected.

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