Missionary takes Russian arrest to European court

Thursday, April 20, 2017
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

Bible study groupAn American Baptist missionary who claims his religious freedom was violated in Russia has taken his case to the European Court of Human rights.

Last summer the Russian government, under the guise of trying to prevent terrorism, made it illegal to share religious beliefs without proper government authorization. 

In August of last year, Donald Ossewarde was arrested for conducting a Bible study at his home.  He was later convicted and fined 40,000 rubles, which is approximately $600. 

Lorcan Price, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom International, says the pastor is the victim of Russia's "heavy-handed" targeting of religious minorities in their country.

After appeals in Russia failed, Ossewaarde, with the support of ADF International, has filed an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. 

Price hopes the court will use the case to "make it very clear to the Russian government that breaking into people's homes when they're holding prayer services, arresting people for praying in private, is just totally unacceptable in light of Russia's international obligations."

He is confident the court will side with the pastor and hopes that the judicial pressure will force the government to guarantee religious freedom for all in Russia.

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