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Russia: Local Officials Enforce New Religion Law

Washington, 3 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - A prominent British human rights organization says officials of the Republic of Khakassia in central Siberia have begun enforcing provisions of the Russian law on religion President Boris Yeltsin signed last month.

The Keston News Service reported yesterday that the Council of Religious Affairs in the Republic of Khakassia informed the Evangelical Lutheran Mission of Khakassia on Tuesday that the group's official registration had been cancelled in accordance with the new Russian law.

The news service is the publication arm of the Keston Institute, a British research center that tracks religious and human rights questions in the former Soviet bloc.

It says that as a result the Lutheran Mission will no longer be able to own property, draft official documents or sign contracts, and it will not be able to conduct any evangelistic activity legally.

The news service says the Lutheran Mission has been in Khakassia for more than two years and had enjoyed official status during that period.