New law in Bolivia threatens preaching and ‘witnessing’Christians in Bolivia are warning they could be about to see the end of religious freedom in their country under a new law which brackets criminal groups with religious organisations.
The law bans people trying to ‘recruit’ others to take part in ‘armed conflicts or religious or worship organisations’. This could mean that street preaching is banned, even inviting someone to a Christian event could count as an offence.Evangelical representatives are warning it could mean the end of religious freedom in the country.
“Will they denounce us if we bring a group of people to a Christian camp? Will I no longer be able to preach the Gospel on the streets?” asked pastor Miguel Machaca Monroy, President of the coalition of evangelical churches in the capital city.
The National Association of Evangelicals in Bolivia also criticised the new Penal Code and a statement said: “It is deplorable that Bolivia becomes the first Latin American country to persecute the rights of freedom of conscience and of religion, which are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the declaration of San José de Costa Rica, and our Constitution.
“Christian evangelical churches in our country are institutions aiming to rehabilitate the human being, improve the moral, spiritual, ethical and social conditions of our citizens.
It added: “Now, we have been put in a situation in which practising the Gospel has been criminalised.”
The new law, found in Article 88.11 of the Penal Code, reads: “Whoever recruits, transports, deprives of freedom or hosts people with the aim of recruiting them to take part in armed conflicts or religious or worship organizations will be penalised five to 12 years of imprisonment.”
Global Christian News http://www.globalchristiannews.org/article/new-law-in-bolivia-threatens-preaching-and-witnessing/
UZBEKISTAN: No books allowed, Bible ordered destroyedBy Mushfig Bayram, Forum 18
Uzbekistan still searches homes and fines people for meeting and having religious literature, claiming in one case to look for a gun. After one person admitted to reading Christian books at home, their home was raided and Bible confiscated. Elsewhere, a Bible was destroyed.
On 10 November police in Andijan in eastern Uzbekistan raided the private flat of Irina Stepanova, a member of the local state-registered Baptist Church. Police claimed that they were looking for an allegedly illegally stored gun, but concentrated on confiscating Christian books. She now faces charges for possessing Christian books and other Christian material (see below).
On 19 November, 14 officials from various agencies, including the local police Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism Department, raided the private home of Stanislav Kim in Urgench in Khorezm Region in north-western Uzbekistan. People meeting for Sunday morning worship were arrested, interrogated for two hours and threatened at a police station. Christian books were confiscated. After one person admitted under interrogation to reading Christian books their home was also also raided and books including their personal Bible were confiscated (see below)........
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IRAN: CHRISTIANS RECEIVE EIGHT YEAR SENTENCESTwo Iranian Christians were sentenced to a total of eight years in prison by a revolutionary court in December 2017, after being convicted of national security-related crimes.
Suroush Saraie and Eskandar Rezaie, who are both members of the Church of Iran denomination, each received seven-year sentences for “creating a group that works against national security” and an additional year for “propaganda against the state.” Both men are appealing the verdict, which was handed down on 28 December 2017 by the 4th Chamber of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz.
During the same court hearing, a Christian woman named Zahra Norouzi Kashkouli was sentenced to a year in prison for “being a member of a group working against the system.” She too is appealing the sentence.
Article 23 of the Iranian constitution states that “the investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.” Nevertheless, there has been a rise in arrests of members of minority faith communities since the advent of the Rouhani presidency, and Christians have routinely been charged with national security-related crimes in order to justify excessive sentences......
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