American pastor loses appeal in Russian court

The appeal for an American charged under Russia’s anti-missionary law has been rejected.


Under the guise of trying to prevent terrorism, the law makes it illegal to share religious beliefs without proper authorization from the Russian government.


Pastor Donald Ossewaarde was hit with a fine of 40,000 Rubles ($621 USD) under Russia’s controversial new law on August 14.  The pastor’s appeal on September 30 was rejected.


Despite the recent setback, Ossewaarde has vowed to continue his appeals process for as long as needed.


Andrew Kerr, Russian program coordinator for International Christian Concern, is keeping a close eye on the court case. If the pastor’s appeal succeeds, he says, it could set a court precedent or start an effort to reform the law.


“And that’s obviously the hope that Pastor Donald has in this situation,” Kerr says. “And that’s a big reason why he’s pushing for the appeal.”


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