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Church members detained and questioned during Bible distribution in Russia
By Michael Ireland

IVANOVO REGION, RUSSIA (ANS) — Three members of a church in the Ivanovo region of Russia are being detained and questioned following the break-up by authorities of Bible distribution after the showing of a Christian film.

Vladimir Miskevich, Senior Pastor for Vladimir and Ivanovo region, Russia writes: “On the 14th of May 2006 the ECB church ‘Resurrection’ organized a meeting in the cinema center ‘Sovremennik’ (Contemporary) and showed the film ‘The Climb.’

“After the film all those who wanted to have New Testaments received them. The NTs were distributed by members of our church at the exit from the cinema hall. The New Testaments were published by the Christian society Gideon for Russia . The book contains Canonical Books of New Testament and the Book of Psalms.”

Miskevich continues: “During the distribution of the NTs the officers from regional Home Affairs office came up to our church people, who distributed the books, and said that the distribution of the books was illegal. They mentioned inspection raid concerning administrative or criminal responsibility according to the order of the head of Home Affairs Department on May 15, 2006 in Ivanovo region.

“As a result of such action, the distribution of the NTs was stopped and three members of the church were detained and brought to the department of Home Affairs of Okryabrsky district of Ivanovo town, (even) though all necessary papers allowing distribution of these books were submitted to the officers as well as papers conforming the identity of persons who distributed the NTs. Detained people were pressed as well as those who witnessed their detainment. The service organized by the church ‘Resurrection’ was frustrated.”

Miskevich says the members of the “Resurrection” church are being accused of administrative violation of the law according to the article 13.22 of the Administrative code on “Violation of announcement of dateline” (publication or distribution of means of mass media without indication of date-line or with incomplete or false date-line).

“Our church members are accused of distribution of religious literature, NTs and the Book of Psalms in particular, with violation of the order of date-line (according to the written report): ‘the publication lacks data about Editor-in-Chief, serial number of the issue and its date, index, address of the publishing house, editor, printing house and edition).’ ”

Officers of Okryabrsky Department of Home affairs have begun an administrative investigation of the facts in this case.

Miskevich says: “Please, support us in your prayers.”