Belarus Protestors Face Fines

Nov 25, 2002 03:00 AM EST

BELARUS – Two Catholics face fines and possible imprisonment for protesting the new religion laws in Belarus.

Igor Zakrevsky and Sergei Peskin were briefly detained after publicly protesting the new law on November 8. They walked the central streets of Minsk with placards saying, "The authorities want to control our souls." They were soon arrested next to the statue of Lenin opposite the Parliament building where they came to a stop.

Their trial will be held within two months; the two face fines up to $2840 or 15 days in prison. The fine is the equivalent to 300 times the minimum monthly wage in Belarus.

Zakresky and Peskin had previously charged for earlier street protests under Article 167 part 2 of the Administrative Code, which punishes "unsanctioned meetings."

The religion law, which became official Saturday, November 16, forbids any unregistered religious activity, requires censorship of religious literature, does not allow foreign church leadership, and puts severe restrictions on what organizations can be registered.

By Pauline J.
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