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Protestant woman arrested in occupied Ukraine for alleged comments at home prayer meeting

The church member faces up to 10 years in jail for giving “knowingly false information” about the Russian armed forces. The Russian-imposed authorities say their aim is to “halt the work of religious sects”.

FUENTES Forum 18 News AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus 13 DE JUNIO DE 2024 12:00 h
The entrance of Melitopol, in south-east Ukraine. / Photo: Стоялов Максим Викторович [link]Wikipedia, CC[/link].

A woman in the early fifties has been under arrest since early 2024 and may already be facing criminal trial at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Regional Court in occupied Ukraine.



She was arrested for participating in a July 2023 prayer meeting held in a private home in the Russia-occupied city of Melitopol (south-east Ukraine).



According to human rights groups Forum 18, the woman, who is not thought to be a church leader, is being prosecuted by the Russian occupation forces for giving “knowingly false information” about the Russian armed forces. She faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.



The Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has been involved in the case, and the Protestant woman, who was been under arrest for over five months, is charged under Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code.



Only in the Zaporizhzhia region, at least three churches have been banned and all their properties seized by the Russian-imposed Governor, Yevgeny Balitsky. According to Forum 18, these are Grace Protestant Church, Melitopol Christian Church, and Word of Life Protestant Church. The religious communities are accused by the pro-Russian authorities of having links with foreign “special services”.



In february 2024, the new authorities in this Russian-controlled area of Ukraine expressed the aim of “halting the work of religious sects which had taken part in organising mass disorder and anti-Russian activity”.



Read a more detailed report on this story on Forum 18’s website.



[analysis]



[title]One more year[/title]

[photo][/photo]

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