Monitoring news media reports about religion in Russia
countries of CIS
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Religion News Current News Items
American government criticizes Ukrainian practices
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT CITES PROBLEM OF PRESIDENT YANUKOVICH'S
AFFILIATION WITH ONE CHURCH
15 September 2011
A special account within the framework of the American Department of
State's project on international religious freedom notes that positive
trends are evident in Ukraine but there are several problems. Thus the
account posted on the official Web site of the state department, citing
the Ukrainian Association of Religious Freedom, says that the tangible
commitment of President Viktor Yanukovich to one "religious group" has
promoted a worsening of relations among various confessions.
In addition, investigators published evidence of cooperation of local
soviets with one religious group at the expense of others. For example,
the account says that representatives of the Kiev patriarchate complain
that UPTsMP has pressured authorities of Kiev to prohibit UPTsKP from
conducting funeral services in cemeteries.
Problems with discrimination against several religious groups have
appeared also in refusals to register them in various regions of
Ukraine, the report also says.
Thus experts cite the example where representatives of the Muslim
community of Ukraine have had problems with registering new cells in
Crimea, and representatives of Greek Catholics state that Kievan
authorities do not want to grant them land for constructing churches,
while UPTsMP has the same problem in the Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk
The account says that Crimean Tatars also point to discrimination, on
the part mainly of bureaucrats who are ethnic Russians, in blocking
employment in local administrations. In addition, specialists add,
Russian groups preach hostility to Tatars among other residents of
Crimea. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 September 2011)
Religion News Current News Items
Evangelical pastor on trial in Kiev
SUNDAY ADELAJA CONSIDERS SELF DISSIDENT
by Andrei Tkach
13 September 2011
Sunday Adelaja considers himself absolutely innocent. The pastor of the
Embassy of God church who is charged with participation in the King's
Capital financial fraud described in an exclusive interview with
Fokus.ua how he intends to show his innocence, why he considers himself
a dissident in Ukraine, and how his trial which has begun will end.
Fokus.ua Question: On 13 September the first court session was
held and, as previously, do you consider yourself innocent of the
King's Capital financial fraud which has hundreds of victims?
S.A.--Absolutely innocent. And I will continue to think so. A trial is
the opportunity for a person to prove his innocence, and I have come to
the court proudly, to defend my innocence!
--How do you intend to do this, since the investigation has collected
sufficient materials to show your guilt?
--Let them show it. Let them produce just one document that
demonstrates that I am guilty of something.
--Why do you refuse to acquaint yourself with the materials of the case?
--Because everything in it is far-fetched; they want to pin this case
on me. They are dragging me by the ear. But here there will be justice
in any case, even if earthly jurisprudence does not prove it, there
still is God's trial. Even if the truth is killed a thousand times, it
will nevertheless rise again.
--Why have you asked for the materials to be translated into the Yoruba
language? You understand Russian well.
--My attorney requested that. It wasn't I. I understand the
--How do you assess your prospects in this trial? Aren't you afraid of
--I want to say that this is not a trial of Sunday Adelaja. It is a
trial of Ukrainian justice. It is an examination of Ukrainian justice.
--That is, do you consider yourself a dissident in Ukraine? That you
are being persecuted for your religious views and not for criminal
--Without a doubt.
--Do you really want to abandon your church or your flock?
--I do not know; you should ask those who started this whole thing. It
has already been proven that they intend to judge me without proof of
my guilt; they are prosecuting me without guilt.
--In that case, how do you feel about two bails?
--The whole thing is that I am not a man of the flesh. I am a man
of the spirit. One must be a free spirit. They can confine my flesh,
but not my spirit.
--And you do not mind the seizure of your property that they may
confiscate—house, vehicles, money?
--Indeed I have already told you—I am a man of the spirit and I do not
live by means of these material things. And it is impossible to touch
--Still how do you explain that in a video in the investigation you
summon parishioners to put their money in the fraudulent King's Capital
--If you are a journalist and you are not lazy, you can go on line
yourself and view these tapes. I did not say such a thing there.
--Excuse me, I viewed these tapes and you say there straight out that
one should invest in King's Capital.
--That shows that you did not watch carefully. It is obvious there that
I am saying that one should not strive for high percentages and if some
want to invest money they should protect themselves. One shouldn't
invest without having understood. I did not call people to invest; I
warned that people should be cautious.
--Well again I want to clarify: you did not call people to invest in
the King's Capital and Club of 1,000 Millionaires structures?
--Of course I didn't. And thousands of people know that.
--Then who do you think was involved in the organization of the King's
Capital fraud that robbed hundreds of people?
--Safonov and Bandurchenko [King's Capital managers who are being tried
along with Sunday Adelaja—ed.]; they do not deny that they created it.
They are right here. Ask them everything. They know.
--How do you think this trial will end?
--If Ukrainian justice is sufficiently mature and independent, they
should acquit me. I have waited three years for this moment! I have
even gone to court because this is my shining hour. If Ukrainian
justice goes along with the conspirators and proves what doesn't exist
in reality, it still will be my shining hour. Because it will be a
trial, as I already said, of Ukrainian justice. Because the whole world
will see this. What doesn't exist in reality cannot be proven.
--Do you intend to leave Ukraine?
--Until I prove my innocence I will not flee or leave for anywhere. It
is a matter of honor. And I specifically will stay here and prove that
in this country there still are those who live by the truth.
* * *
We recall that Sunday Sunkanma Adelaja is charged with creating the
King's Capital criminal organization, which under the cover of the
Embassy of God church has defrauded huge sums from parishioners. Now
MVD investigators have managed to prove only a small portion of the
losses, on the order of 80 million hryvnias. There are 618 victims in
The criminal case against Adelaja was sent to the court at the end of
July. On 13 September the first judicial session of the Sunday Adelaja
case was held in the Dneprovsk district court of Kiev, but in the end
it was decided to postpone the hearing since Adelaja, according to
attorney Andrei Fedur, supposedly does not completely understand the
indictment in the Ukrainian language. Thus the trial will resume on 27
September with the accused being provided interpreters.
It was reported earlier that Fedur requested the translation of 200
volumes of the criminal case from Ukrainian into Yoruba, since Adelaja
does not understand Ukrainian well. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 September
SUPPORTERS OF SUNDAY ADELAJA THREATEN DEMONSTRATION AT DNEPROVSK COURT
14 September 2011
The prosecutor general has confirmed the indictment and sent it to the
Kiev Appeals Court for determining the jurisdiction of the criminal
case against officials of the King's Capital financial group, Religiia
v Ukraine reports, citing Segodnia.
Supporters of the pastor of the Embassy of God church, Sunday Adelaja,
are planning to hold a demonstration outside the Dneprovsk court where
the criminal case of the King's Capital company is being reviewed
against the Embassy of God pastor, Sunday Adelaja, and another five
officials of the church.
"It is especially unfortunate that the trial was scheduled for the
cursed date of 13 September. But even that will not make us retreat.
The Lord will not let the pastor be shamed. We will all be at the court
to pray for him," said parishioner Natalia.
According to the results of the investigation, it has been established
that in the course of 2006-2008 officials of King's Capital by
fraudulent means in the form of high-yielding investments took
possession of especially enormous amounts of citizens' wealth.
The defendants are accused of committing crimes provided for by part 1
of article 255 of the Criminal Code (creation of, leadership of and
participation in criminal organization), part 4 of article 190 (fraud),
and parts 2 and 3 of article 358 (forgery and use of documents known to
be forged ).
There are 6l8 persons determined to be victims in this affair, who
suffered material loss of a total of more than 52 million hryvnias.
In October 2010 the Ministry of Internal Affairs completed the
investigation of the criminal case of the machinations of King's
In this case six persons were held criminally liable, among whom were
officials of the King's Capital enterprise and Adelaja, who were
accused of acquiring citizens' financial resources by fraudulent means.
(tr. by PDS, posted 16 September 2011)
Religion News Current News Items
Witnesses for defense in Jehovah's Witness trial
TRIAL OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESS IN GORNYI ALTAI: PROSECUTOR CITES BAN
OF THIS "SECT" IN CHINA
15 September 2011
Six witnesses summoned by the defense were heard in judicial session on
13 September in Gornyi Altai city court in the case of the director of
the local Jehovah's Witnesses religious organization, Alexander
Kalistratov, the press service of the Administrative Center of
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia reports.
Mikhail Odintsov, the head of the Department for Defense of Freedom of
Conscience of the apparatus of the Plenipotentiary for Human Rights in
the Russian federation, actively participated in the trial, speaking as
a private individual in Kalistratov's defense.
The first witness, who does not share the faith of his wife who is a
Jehovah's Witness from back in soviet times, noted that he never has
seen Jehovah's Witnesses participating in any kind of political
actions, disturbances or disorders. He characterized Kalistratov
as a decent, industrious, and honest man. To the lawyers' question why,
in his opinion, Kalistratov was in the defendant's dock, the man being
examined answered this was a matter of persecution of dissidents which
has endured from soviet times. He emphasized that in developed
democratic countries, such as the states of the European Union and USA,
Jehovah's Witnesses are not persecuted and their literature, which has
been published for more than 100 years, is not banned. In response to
this, Prosecutor Bulat Yaimov cited as a "positive example" that
Jehovah's Witnesses are banned in China.
As a witness for the defense, kandidat of jurisprudence Anton
Omelchenko, representing by proxy the Watchtower Bible and Tract
Society (Pennsylvania, USA, and New York, USA) and the publisher
"Watchtower Bible and Tract Society" in Germany, which publishes and
provides religious literature for Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, was
examined. Omelchenko declared that Jehovah's Witnesses' literature is
freely distributed in democratic countries of the world in more than
Analyzing the text of the indictment and expert analysis, witness
Omelchenko stated that several quotations from publications listed in
the indictment actually are absent from the publications. The author of
the indictment indicated that several Jehovah's Witnesses' publications
may hurt the feelings of Catholics. However, in countries where a
majority of citizens profess Catholicism, these publications are freely
The court was read a quotation from the book "Government and Religion
at the end of War" (M., 2005), where it is described how Hitler and the
fascist regime treated Jehovah's Witnesses, who were banned by illegal
methods and were systematically destroyed. Also read were quotations
from the Nuremberg Trials which recalled the persecution of a group of
Bible Students (as Jehovah's Witnesses were called in Germany) because
they were peace-loving and pacifist.
Another witness stated that Jehovah's Witnesses' publications helped
him be delivered from drugs and become a full-fledged member of
society, and he is extremely amazed that for these very publications
that helped him renounce a fatal dependency Kalistratov is now being
held criminally liable. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 September 2011)
Religion News Current News Items
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