An American pastor who was charged under Russia’s controversial anti-terror, anti-evangelism law has seen his appeal rejected, but has vowed to continue his religious freedom fight.
International Christian Concern, a persecution watchdog group, reported on Tuesday that Pastor Donald Ossewaarde, an independent Baptist missionary, saw his appeal rejected by the court in Oryol, after he had been found guilty of illegal missionary activity under Russia’s “Yarovaya” laws.
The 55-year-old American pastor, who has been living in Oryol for close to a decade and a half, had been charged for conducting a religious service in a private home and sticking an advertisement in a public place inviting people to worship.
The law in question seeks to restrict the free practice of religious beliefs in order to target potential terror activities, and has been criticized by faith leaders, including Hannu Haukka, president of Great Commission Media Ministries, who told National Religious Broadcasters in July that the new legislation is the most restrictive move in “post-Soviet history.”
Read More: American Pastor Charged Under Russia’s New Anti-Evangelism Law Sees Appeal Rejected