MALORITA, Belarus — The prosecutor in Belarus’ Malorita District threatened a Baptist pastor with criminal prosecution if he continues to evangelize publicly.
Fyodor Mikhovich, the prosecutor for the district, issued the ultimatum to Vladimir Burshtyn on July 27, states Forum 18 News Service.
The prosecutor threatened Burshtyn under Criminal Code Article 130 about “incitement of racial, ethnic, religious or other social hatred or discord.” The maximum punishment is a five-year prison term.
Eight weeks prior to this and 70 miles away, the Drogichin District Court fined Burshtyn more than an average month’s pension for an event in Drogichin in which he and other Baptists offered Christian literature and told passersby about Jesus Christ.
The Baptist Council of Churches, of which Burshtyn is a member, does not seek state permission for its existence or activities, reports Forum 18.
Burshtyn was fined in 2005 for leading an unregistered congregation in Malorita and again in 2008 for telling about Jesus outside a market in the town of Ushachi.