A church leader has been arrested in Russia under the country's new anti-evangelism laws, days after a US missionary was convicted and fined for holding Bible studies in his home.
According to The Moscow Times, Sergei Zhuravlyov of the Ukranian Reformed Orthodox Church of Christ was arrested while preaching in St Petersburg and accused of "violating a provision of Russian anti-terrorist legislation that bans illegal missionary activity".
Zhuravlyov was later released on bail and is awaiting a court hearing.
The legislation he was accused of contravening was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on July 6 and came into force two weeks later. Under the new law, known as the 'Yaroyava' package, house churches are illegal and religious activity or evangelism is prohibited anywhere outside a registered church or religious site, including private homes and online.
Only named members of religious organisations are now allowed to share their faith, and even informal witnessing between individuals is forbidden.
Critics have branded it a draconian attempt to stifle religious freedom under the guise of clamping down on terrorism.
Sergei Ryakhovsky, head of the Protestant Churches of Russia, previously wrote with other evangelical leaders to Putin urging him not to support the law.
They argued the law "violates human rights and fundamental liberties with regard to religious freedom".
Last week, it was reported that the first known victims of the legislation had been convicted and fined.
Baptist preacher Donald Ossewaarde, a US citizen, was fined 40,000 rubles (more than $600) for holding and advertising religious services in his home.
In Moscow, Ghanaian citizen Ebenezer Tuah, who heads the Christ Embassy church, was arrested and fined 50,000 rubles after police raided a sanatorium where he was performing baptisms.