By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
WHEATON, ILLINOIS (ANS) -- Russian Ministries (http://russian-ministries.org) is advocating for the release of U.S. citizen Pastor Thomas Kang, held since September 2012 at a detention center in Tula, Russia under suspicious circumstances.
Pastor Thomas Kang
According to a news release monitored by the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), on September 28, 2012, Pastor Kang and his assistant, Ekaterina, answered a summons from the Office of the Federal Migration Service regarding a builder working on Kang's house, an Uzbek whose work visa had recently expired.
While there, Pastor Kang was accused of unspecified illegal actions himself and threatened with punishments not in accordance with the law.
It became clear to Pastor Kang, said the release, that after hours of meaningless questioning, they were simply trying to extort a bribe, an all too common practice. He declared his intention to leave, paid the fine for employing the Uzbek worker, and added a 1,000 ruble "open giving of thanks" to help the police in their work.
"Immediately, the officer he was speaking to called in other officers who were waiting outside and arrested Pastor Kang on a charge of attempted bribery," says Russian Ministries.
Ekaterina, who is in fragile health, was detained overnight without food or water while they continued to question her about vague accusations of wrongdoing. She was released the next day, but Pastor Kang was sent to a detention center.
"It is suspicious that this questioning and arrest came the day before Pastor Kang, a well-respected member of the community and former military chaplain, was due to open 'House of Joy,' a home he intended to use as a retreat for disadvantaged families, children of soldiers, and Christian groups. In light of the rising religious persecution in Russia, it seems likely that this is an attempt to intimidate Pastor Kang and prevent "House of Joy" from being used for religious purposes," added the release.
"Without informing Pastor Kang, his family, or his lawyer, police then searched Pastor Kang's apartment in Moscow, claiming they were looking for recordings of his voice, although they didn't say why. This might have explained the removal of computers and cell phones from the home, but does not explain the disappearance of several unrelated valuables and 28,000 rubles.
"More than four months have passed, investigators have still not produced the legally mandated report of the search to Pastor Kang, and he is still being held at the detention center. Russian Ministries is committed to raising awareness about Pastor Kang's plight and advocating for his release."
Note: Russian Ministries evangelizes, equips and mobilizes Next Generation men and women to become light in darkness and to bring hope to humanly hopeless situations in the nations of the former Soviet Union.