(Worthy News) – An American man is among the first group of people to be targeted under new anti-evangelism laws in Russia.
Donald Ossewaarde, a Baptist minister, was working in the city of Oryol, about 360 kilometres south-southwest of Moscow when he was visited by police.
They accused him of “unlawfully conducting missionary activity” by having Bible meetings at his home. [ Source ]
Ossewaarde Stays to Appeal His Case
Ossewaarde, who has documented his case extensively on his website, was arrested in his home where policemen came to establish that a group was meeting with him for prayer and Bible reading, which they said was illegal. In court, he was accused of posting notices in public places, inviting anyone interested in studying the Scriptures to turn him for help. The Court also ruled that he failed to give the authorities written notification when he began his religious group activities.
According to Ossewaarde, the court refused to allow time for his lawyers to come from Moscow for the initial hearing, and then provided a lawyer for him. In a “confidential conversation” after the hearing, this court appointed lawyer advised him to accept the verdict and pay the fine without appeal. He then said that it would be better for the American to leave the city, because anything might happen to him and his family.
Ossewaarde’s family has returned to the US but he has stayed to appeal his case. [ Source ]