Arrest of a U.S. Pastor in Russia “Suspicious”
Russian Ministries Advocates for Detained U.S. Citizen
ICC Note: Pastor Thomas Kang was detained and arrested in Russia the day before he was to open “‘House of Joy,’ a home he intended to use as a retreat for disadvantaged families, children of soldiers, and Christian groups.” He has been held in Russia since September 2012 and it is believed his arrest was meant to intimidate and delay the opening of the home. “In light of the rising religious persecution in Russia, it seems likely that this is an attempt to intimidate Pastor Kang and prevent ‘House of Joy’ from being used for religious purposes,” stated a news release from Russian Ministries.
By Dan Wooding
2/20/2013 Russia (AN) -According to a news release monitored by the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), on September 28, 2012, Pastor Kang and his assistant, Ekaterina, answered a summons from the Office of the Federal Migration Service regarding a builder working on Kang’s house, an Uzbek whose work visa had recently expired.
While there, Pastor Kang was accused of unspecified illegal actions himself and threatened with punishments not in accordance with the law.
It became clear to Pastor Kang, said the release, that after hours of meaningless questioning, they were simply trying to extort a bribe, an all too common practice. He declared his intention to leave, paid the fine for employing the Uzbek worker, and added a 1,000 ruble “open giving of thanks” to help the police in their work.
“Immediately, the officer he was speaking to called in other officers who were waiting outside and arrested Pastor Kang on a charge of attempted bribery,” says Russian Ministries.
Ekaterina, who is in fragile health, was detained overnight without food or water while they continued to question her about vague accusations of wrongdoing. She was released the next day, but Pastor Kang was sent to a detention center.
“It is suspicious that this questioning and arrest came the day before Pastor Kang, a well-respected member of the community and former military chaplain, was due to open ‘House of Joy,’ a home he intended to use as a retreat for disadvantaged families, children of soldiers, and Christian groups. In light of the rising religious persecution in Russia, it seems likely that this is an attempt to intimidate Pastor Kang and prevent “House of Joy” from being used for religious purposes,” added the release.