21 June 2018

UZBEKISTAN: Five-day jail, fines for unapproved worship

Nabijon Bolikulov was jailed in Karshi for five days and three fellow Baptists were fined for meeting for worship without state permission. The Judge told Bolikulov: "Do your prayers at home. It is against the law of our state to meet for worship without state registration." [read more...]

13 June 2018

BELARUS: State official vetoes foreign Orthodox, Catholic priests

In early June the senior state religious affairs official rejected a request from the Catholic Bishop of Vitebsk for permission for a priest from Poland to replace another who is leaving. Leonid Gulyako has already in 2018 rejected another Polish Catholic priest and two Orthodox priests from Russia. [read more...]

8 June 2018

RUSSIA: Longest jail term yet for religious meeting

In the longest known jail term so far for meeting with others for religious study, a Dagestan court sentenced Ilgar Aliyev to eight years' jail plus two years' restrictions for meeting to study Muslim theologian Said Nursi's writings. Similarly, a Krasnoyarsk court fined another Muslim, Aleksei Dedkov, more than six months' average local wages. [read more...]

6 June 2018

RUSSIA: Further raids, arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses

Law enforcement agencies launched multiple armed raids on Jehovah's Witnesses' homes in four further regions. Long interrogations followed, including of an 83-year-old woman. Courts put another five people in pre-trial custody as they face criminal investigation. Twelve Jehovah's Witnesses are now behind bars, with at least 30 facing criminal cases. [read more...]

5 June 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Restrictive legal amendments reach Senate

Wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan's Religion Law and 11 other laws that seem set to increase still further the already tight restrictions on freedom of religion or belief begin consideration in Parliament's upper house. Working Group chair Sergei Ershov was unable to say if he would send the draft Law for an OSCE review. [read more...]

31 May 2018

UZBEKISTAN: Women targetted, due process violations, unfair trial

After an August 2017 raid on a Protestant meeting, interrogations of and charges against the same Protestants continue. Women in an Urgench church continue to be targetted by male officials, accompanied by flagrant violations by police, bailiffs, and a court of due legal process. [read more...]

30 May 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Legal amendments - no text, no OSCE review

Kazakhstan's Human Rights Ombudsperson called in April for the parliamentary Working Group considering the wide-ranging amendments to the Religion Law and other laws to be sent for an OSCE legal review. The Working Group head rejected this. The amendments, now adopted by the lower house, are likely to reach the Senate soon, but the public has no access to the text. [read more...]

25 May 2018

RUSSIA: 28 new raids, now 20 criminal investigations

Officers launched 28 raids on Jehovah's Witness homes in May, often forcing entry, threatening occupants with weapons and seizing literature and other items. Under criminal investigation are 6 Jehovah's Witnesses in pre-trial detention, 2 under house arrest and at least 11 under travel restrictions. Two others are already on trial. [read more...]