By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
BELARUS (ANS) -- Raids and fines against Baptists in Belarus who meet for worship without state permission have restarted.
According to a story by Olga Glace for Forum 18 News Service, after separate raids on Sunday worship services at both congregations of the Council of Churches Baptists in the south-eastern town of Gomel, three local leaders have been fined.
Forum 18 said Pastor Nikolai Varushin was fined about one month's average local wages, and Pastor Pyotr Yashchenko and Valentin Shchedrenok were fined much smaller amounts. These are the first such raids and fines in almost a year.
Police told Forum 18 that one of the raids had been initiated by the KGB secret police, with the aim of "revealing criminal groups of the unregistered Baptists."
"We (the police) deal with family quarrels and street fights, and are not interested in religion," the police officer told Forum 18. "In this mission we only lent assistance."
Forum 18 said New Life Full Gospel Church in the capital Minsk once again received an eviction order, which was rapidly suspended - but not cancelled.
For more information go to www.forum18.org