US Missionary May Get Russia’s Anti-Evangelism Law Overturned

One Sunday morning in August, three policemen came to Don Ossewaarde’s home in Russia, where the Baptist missionary from Illinois was holding his weekly Bible study.
“Afterwards, they took me to the police station and charged me with conducting missionary activities in violation of a new law that took effect on July 20, 2016,” Ossewaarde wrote. “At a court hearing, I was found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of 40,000 rubles, which is over $600.”
Ossewaarde was snagged by Russia’s new anti-terrorism law that President Vladimir Putin approved last summer. The “Yarovaya law” calls for tighter restrictions on missionaries and evangelism, and has resulted in at least 32 prosecutions since it went into effect in July.
But now that law might be getting a second look.
Ossewaarde appealed his case three times, and has worked his way up to Russia’s Supreme Court, where his attorneys hope the case will be heard in the next few months. He also plans to appeal to the Constitutional Court; if judges accept the case, the consequences could be immense.


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