Unless she succeeds in her appeal, Zhanna-Tereza Raudovich will be due to pay a massive fine for hosting a Sunday morning service in her home attended by several local Baptist women and their children.
Also, the government version of a new Code of Administrative Offenses, now in Parliament, continues almost unchanged the penalties for religious activity in the current Code and adds a new offense of "inciting social, racial, national, religious, class and clan superiority."
The 17 January worship service in Raudovich's home was raided by local police and she was fined three days later. She belongs to the Council of Churches Baptists, who reject state registration in all the former Soviet republics where they operate. They insist that such registration represents unwarranted state interference in their internal affairs.
The police who raided Raudovich's home in the village of Ayteke Bi in Kazaly District of Kyzylorda Region drew up an official record that "they had discovered an illegally functioning religious community."
Raudovich was found guilty on 20 January by Judge M. Zhubanganov at Kazaly District Court of violating Article 374-1 Part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offences (leadership or participation in the activity of an unregistered social or religious organisation) by conducting the Sunday service. She was fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage or 141,300 Tenge (5,713 Norwegian Kroner, 699 Euros or 955 US Dollars). She appealed against the fine to Kyzylorda Regional Court, where her appeal was scheduled to be heard on 11 February.
It remains unclear how Raudovich could pay the fine. She has six children and does not have a job, fellow Baptists pointed out. "This is the sixth such fine she has faced. The family has no items of value, so court executors have not been able to confiscate anything up till now to pay off the earlier fines."