22 March 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: More raids on worship, fines

Police raided a third Baptist church in Taraz, summarily fining two more worshippers. Only one of five now fined did not appeal. "We don't pay fines voluntarily, so they'll take the money from his pension," a Baptist noted. Police raided a Hare Krishna meeting in Atyrau. Officials later withdrew the prosecution. [read more...]

20 March 2019

TAJIKISTAN: Jailed, awaiting trial on "incitement" charges

Despite recent surgery, retired widower, Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov, is in pre-trial detention in Khujand under criminal investigation for "inciting religious hatred". If tried and convicted he faces five to ten years' imprisonment. His arrest followed widespread raids, interrogations and torture of local Jehovah's Witnesses. [read more...]

15 March 2019

DONBAS: Luhansk: Baptist Union Churches forced to halt public worship

Officials of the unrecognised Luhansk People's Republic threatened Baptist Union pastors not to meet for worship, sending "a clear message that they will not tolerate such meetings for worship any more". Officials regard all Protestant churches as "illegal". 82-year-old independent Baptist pastor Anatoly Tolstenko faces court on 21 March. [read more...]

11 March 2019

BELARUS: Officials bar priest's return, church's registration

Senior state religious affairs official Leonid Gulyako without explanation rejected pleas from parishioners and the bishop for Polish Catholic priest Pawel Knurek to be allowed to return to work in Belarus. Also, a Minsk Pentecostal Church has been denied registration for the sixth time. [read more...]

8 March 2019

KYRGYZSTAN: Fighting against violent extremism?

Violent attacks continue against Christians and Muslims friendly with Christians after an attack on a Protestant left him needing immediate surgery. His lawyer was violently attacked in a police station and herself needed hospitalisation. "The state does nothing", a local person told Forum 18. [read more...]

5 March 2019

TURKEY: Minority foundations still cannot hold elections

Since 2013 Turkey's government has blocked community foundations relating to the non-Muslim communities protected under the Lausanne Treaty from holding board member elections. This causes foundations many problems, including that "new ideas or new dynamism are not allowed". Some fear that progress achieved since 2008 is being reversed. [read more...]

4 March 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: One city, two raids, three fines

Police in Taraz – including anti-terrorism officers – raided two Baptist worship meetings on successive Sundays in February. Police summarily fined three Baptists and issued two warnings. Despite claiming "our laws don't ban praying", state religious affairs official Balgabek Myrzayev defended punishing people who meet for worship without state permission. [read more...]

1 March 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: Germany rejects extradition request

Germany rejected Kazakhstan's request to extradite Murat Bakrayev for talks on Islam Kazakhstan insists incited hatred and terrorism. A Kazakh judge ordered Muslim books destroyed, including a hadith collection. A Kazakh court rejected Muslim prisoner of conscience Kuanysh Bashpayev's request for conditional release after earlier torture. [read more...]