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Russia map and flagProsecutions continue under Russia's severe "missionary activity" restrictions, resulting in the first known deportation of a foreigner. In February of this year, an Indian pastor, Victor-Immanuel Mani, was forcibly separated from his Russian wife and one-year-old child for allegedly violating the new restrictions on "sharing beliefs," according to the Religion Law and Code of Administrative Offences.

Accused of advertising religious gatherings on social media, and giving religious literature to a non-member of his church, the pastor was sentenced by the Naberezhnyye Chelny City Court in Tatarstan on December 20th, 2016. He also received a fine of 30,000 Roubles (about $724 CAD). During the trial, lawyers asserted that the meeting notices on the church's social media group were not aimed at non-members but were purely informational. The pastor also testified before the court that the accusing visitor, on his own accord, had purchased the books and helped himself to flyers.

During a subsequent hearing on January 25th, an appeal was presented to the local court. As the appeal had been denied, Pastor Mani was ordered to leave the country – even though he is also a legal Russian resident. His lawyers and the Love of God Evangelical Church are now preparing an appeal which will be presented to the Supreme Court of Tatarstan, arguing that the deportation order is in contradiction of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling: "Expulsion from the country, which is home to members of (the defendant's) family, may violate the right to respect family life."

In two other legal cases, separate appeals have been made against court orders to destroy confiscated Bibles (including an edition used by the Russian Orthodox Church) and other religious texts. This occurred despite the courts having no legal right, as the confiscated materials were not legally classified as "extremist." Additionally, religious organizations are receiving large fines for not displaying their "official full names" on publications, websites or buildings. Nizhny Tagil Evangelical Christian Church is appealing such a conviction.

"When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19). Please pray for an outpouring of God's Spirit in the courts, serving as a Defender of true justice and righteousness, and for His presence to encourage and strengthen those who are facing charges relating to new restrictions on sharing one's faith. May great peace, comfort and provision be granted to Pastor Mani and his loved ones as they wait in hopes of soon being reunited. Ask the Lord to also be with the legal representatives working on the various appeals, giving them wisdom, guidance and safety. No matter how much the government tries to suppress Christianity, may God make Himself known in the courts so that He will be glorified in each and every case.

Country Information

Population
3,694,755 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African

Religion (%)
Muslim (85.9), Christian (6.4), Hindu (5.7), Other and unaffiliated (2)

Leader
Sultan and Prime Minister Haytham bin Tariq bin Taimul Al-Said (2020)

Government type
Absolute Monarchy

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Anglo-Saxon law and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Oman

Pray for spiritual openness, that the gospel might have a powerful impact on all levels and peoples in Oman.

Pray that Christians working in Oman will have opportunities to make meaningful contact with those around them and will share and demonstrate the love of Christ.

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