14 November 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: Three pastors' convictions "an unjust court decision"

An Almaty court has jailed three pastors in absentia for between four and five years in a case described by one human rights defender as "complete drivel". New Life Church has been told its problems will end if it pays money to officials or collaborates with the secret police. [read more...]

8 November 2019

UZBEKISTAN: Haj pilgrims face state control, bribery, blacklists

Uzbekistan imposes severe restrictions on haj pilgrims, including using blacklists to bar devout Muslims, arbitrarily restricting who can go on the pilgrimage. Controls are complex and multilayered, involving the SSS secret police, the Muftiate, and the government's Religious Affairs Committee. The system's complexity facilitates corruption. [read more...]

6 November 2019

TURKMENISTAN: Two new conscientious objector jailings

On 29 October, Ashgabad City Court rejected appeals of two 18-year-old Jehovah's Witnesses, David Petrosov and Selim Taganov, against their one-year jail terms for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. Nine conscientious objectors are now jailed, six of them in 2019. The United Nations ruled that Turkmenistan violated the rights of three more conscientious objectors jailed in 2013. [read more...]

30 October 2019

CRIMEA: Four months in Russian prison punishment cell

Prison officials in Russia's Kabardino-Balkariya Region will not say why they put Crimean prisoner of conscience Renat Suleimanov in a punishment cell in July, where he remains. Suleimanov was jailed as an "extremist" as an alleged adherent of the Tabligh Jamaat Muslim movement. The criminal trial of Jehovah's Witness Sergei Filatov has begun. Imam Rustem Abilev was fined three months' average wages. [read more...]

25 October 2019

RUSSIA: 32 people on trial after nationwide ban

32 Jehovah's Witnesses are now on criminal trial due to 2017 nationwide ban, with one more Jehovah's Witness on trial for alleged "public calls for extremist activity". "Extremism" trials of two Muslim readers of Said Nursi's works and two more Jehovah's Witnesses have been delayed. [read more...]

23 October 2019

DONBAS: Luhansk: Worship bans, clergy bans, punishments

Worship is banned in all Protestant churches and Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Halls, as the unrecognised Luhansk People's Republic bans exercising freedom of religion or belief without permission. Courts punish those leading unapproved worship. Prosecutors are investigating an Orthodox priest on "extremism" criminal charges. With no permanent resident priest, Catholics hold Mass by Skype. With bans on clergy visiting, many communities suffer isolation. [read more...]

22 October 2019

UZBEKISTAN: Raids, eviction threat for Urgench Baptists

Police raided a Baptist church's Sunday meetings for worship in Urgench in September and administration and police officials threatened Pastor Stanislav Kim with eviction from his home. Although the local administration then orchestrated a hostile mob, the congregation has in October met without official interference. [read more...]

16 October 2019

DONBAS: Luhansk: Community work, fines, property seizure

A Baptist leader in Krasnodon hopes to overturn a punishment of 20 hours' community work when the case resumes at the Supreme Court in Luhansk on 21 October. Krasnodon court punished Pastor Vladimir Rytikov for leading an unapproved Sunday worship meeting which police raided in April. Another pastor was fined in October for leading worship in August, which police also raided. [read more...]