KESTON NEWS SERVICE - SUMMARY
Issue 10, Articles 14 -18, 13 October 2000
Summaries of recent reporting on violations of religious liberty and on religion
in communist and post-communist lands.
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RUSSIA: STANDOFF OVER `NOISY' PENTECOSTAL STREET
SERVICES (13 Oct). Pentecostals can no longer rent premises for services in
their town of 50,000; recently the pastor has been arrested and fined for holding
unauthorised outdoor meetings. However the administration says it has offered
the group a plot on the outskirts of town which was refused.
RUSSIA: REGISTRATION OFFICIALS TRY TO OUST AMERICAN
MISSIONARIES FROM VLADIMIR (12 Oct). Three US missionaries and
their children have been given a few days to leave Vladimir despite the fact that
they are in Russia at the invitation of a centralised religious organisation
registered with the federal Ministry of Justice.
CHINA/RUSSIA: PATRIARCH TO ASK TO SEND PRIEST TO HARBIN
(11 Oct). Following the death of the last serving Orthodox priest in the whole
of China, Patriarch Aleksi is requesting permission to send a priest from Russia
to serve the Orthodox parish of Harbin. One ethnic Chinese priest is known to
exist, but he is not allowed by the government to practice as a priest.
UKRAINE: VILLAGE CONFLICT CASE STUDY - PENTECOSTALS
VERSUS GREEK CATHOLICS IN MALOVODY (9 Oct). Pentecostals
complain that they have been beaten and barred from building a church in their
village; Greek Catholics told Keston that the homogeneity of the village was
broken by the arrival of Pentecostals and that people were angry of being
accused of �idol worship�.
UZBEKISTAN: PASTOR FREED UNDER AMNESTY (13 Oct). Forced from
his job because of his Christian ministry, Pastor Kim was arrested and tried
without the presence of his lawyer. Over one year and a half later, he has been
given amnesty, but not cleared of his conviction of fraud, which his church
maintains was a false charge. Meanwhile, another Protestant leader and his
wife are seriously ill. SEE FULL TEXT BELOW.
Friday 13 October 2000
UZBEKISTAN: PASTOR FREED UNDER AMNESTY
By Felix Corley, Keston News Service
An ethnic Korean pastor imprisoned for more than a year and a half has been freed
under Uzbekistan's prisoner amnesty announced by President ISLAM KARIMOV at the
beginning of October, Keston News Service has confirmed. STANISLAV KIM, pastor of
a registered Protestant church in the town of Chirchik, was freed in the evening of 9
October from a labour camp in Tabaksai, some 10 kilometres from Chirchik.
In a telephone interview from his home in Chirchik on 13 October, Kim expressed his
delight at being free, but was reluctant to discuss his treatment in the camp. `Prison is
prison,' he declared. `It is not very pleasant,' he added with a laugh. However, he
stressed that he had not been beaten in the camp.
Kim, who is 43 and married with two sons, was arrested on 15 February 1999 and
sentenced to six years' imprisonment under Articles 205 part 2 and 184 part 3 of the
Criminal Code, which cover fraud. Members of his congregation maintain these
charges were false and were levied to punish him for his role as pastor of the church,
an independent congregation meeting in house-church fellowships. At least a quarter
of the 200-member congregation are ethnic Uzbeks. His trial in June 1999 was closed,
and even his lawyer NADEZHDA SOLOVIEVA was unable to attend.
Kim confirmed to Keston that he had been freed under the presidential amnesty
decree. `This does not mean that they said I was not guilty of the charges,' he told
Keston. `But this is normal under the amnesty.' Asked if he would take legal action to
have the charges revoked, he declared: `I would like to, but it is difficult. In fact, it is
Kim, who became a Christian some seven years ago, was a foreman at a large
building company when he became the church's pastor. However, he was reportedly
summoned repeatedly to the mayor's office in Chirchik and told that he could not both
be a pastor and maintain such a responsible job. He was instructed to leave the
church, but when he refused they forced him to resign from the company. Pressure
continuedand when he refused to give up pastoring the church he was reportedly
threatened that unless he paid a massive $5,000 bribe, he would be arrested and
Kim told Keston that his church was registered with the authorities as soon as
Uzbekistan adopted its law on religion in 1991, and was re-registered as soon as the
revised religion law - which made re-registration compulsory - was adopted in 1998.
`We re-registered both times without problems - indeed, we were one of the first both
times.' Kim added that the church continued to operate during his imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Keston has learnt that Protestant leader NIKOLAI RODZINSKY, who was
freed from prison in Nukus on 29 September in the wake of pressure from abroad (see
KNS 29 September 2000), is seriously ill. Both he and his wife are suffering from
tuberculosis and are receiving treatment as out-patients at a local clinic in their home
town of Takhiatash near Nukus. The couple has one daughter. (END)
Copyright (c) 2000 Keston Institute. All rights reserved.