Issue 4, Article 15, 14 April 2000

Immediate reporting on violations of religious liberty and on religion in
communist and post-communist lands.


by Felix Corley, Keston News Service

The local authorities of the western Belarusian region of Brest have instructed Polish Catholic
priest Father ZBIGNIEW KAROLYAK to leave the country by 10 o�clock tonight, 14 April.
Father Karolyak�s permit to remain in Belarus and serve his parish, the Exaltation of the Holy
Cross, expired on 15 March and the authorities have refused to extend it. The priest was
detained for four hours on 18 March and an administrative case was opened against him (see
KNS 13 April 2000).

At a hearing yesterday, 13 April, Father Karolyak was fined 20 times the minimum monthly
wage for remaining in Belarus without registration. A deportation stamp was placed in his

Father Karolyak�s parishioners have tried to defend their priest. They complained to the
police department in the Leninsky district of Brest about what they considered the illegal
detention of their priest on 18 March. However, in a written response to the parishioners (of
which Keston News Service has received a copy), A. S. KOSTYUCHIK, the head of the
Leninsky district police, rejected the parishioners� complaint. They have also called on the
authorities to allow Father Karolyak to remain as their parish priest.

The head of the Catholic Church in Belarus, Cardinal KAZIMIERZ SWIATEK, has sought to
take up Father Karolyak�s case with the Belarus authorities - but in vain.

Keston telephoned Father Karolyak�s home in Brest today, Friday, but there was no answer.


Copyright (c) 2000 Keston Institute. All rights reserved.