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The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one’s belief or religion
The right to join together and express one’s belief

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KYRGYZSTAN: "Registration only gives you permission to exist"

Kyrgyzstan has registered over 60 communities, most of them Protestant, since December 2018. But some Jehovah's Witness communities still cannot get state permission to exist, while Ahmadi Muslims remain banned. Amid physical attacks on and burial denials to non-Muslims,"giving registration does not guarantee that people can exercise their freedom of religion and belief".

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.

KYRGYZSTAN: "The attackers are in freedom"

After an attack on a young Protestant leaving him seriously hospitalised, members of many religious communities have anonymously expressed concern at attacks and the impunity the authorities appear to give attackers. "Eldos is in hospital, and the attackers are in freedom", his lawyer commented.

KYRGYZSTAN: Burial blocked with violence "resolved peacefully"?

An imam admitted to Forum 18 he had, accompanied by a "mob" of young men and officials, blocked a Christian's burial in the state-owned cemetery in Barskoon in Issyk-Kul Region. He then denied all responsibility and tried to blame everything on villagers.

KYRGYZSTAN: Church arson follows long-standing government failures

On 2 January the Baptist Church in the north-eastern town of Kaji-Sai was burnt down. Baptists think this happened because nothing was done to punish the perpetrators of previous threats and attacks. Police claim to be trying to solve the crime, but are also investigating the victims.

KYRGYZSTAN: Religious censorship, sharing faiths ban?

All religious literature would be subject to censorship, sharing beliefs would be banned, adults wanting to study faith abroad would have to notify Religious Affairs officials, and 500 adult citizens in one location would be required to apply for registration if parliament adopts Religion Law amendments.

KYRGYZSTAN: Impunity for body snatching officials

Out of around 70 people in mobs incited by officials who twice exhumed a deceased Protestant's body in Kyrgyzstan, only four were given suspended sentences. None were given the jail sentences of between three and five years the law requires. No officials were tried.

KYRGYZSTAN: No effective punishment for body snatching

Only three people prosecuted from 70, including imams and officials, who twice dug up a deceased Protestant's body. The two convicted were not given the jail sentences the law requires. Human rights defenders and the family condemned the punishments as "not appropriate and not effective".

KYRGYZSTAN: No grave, no prosecutions over twice-exhumed Christian

The authorities have failed to prosecute those who in October led mobs who twice dug up the body of deceased Protestant Kanygul Satybaldiyeva and officials who allowed this to happen. Officials still will not tell Satybaldiyeva's daughter what they did with her mother's body.

KYRGYZSTAN: State permission to exist still denied

Kyrgyzstan continues to deny all belief communities permission to exist without state control, Protestants stating they "live and exercise freedom of religion and belief with constant fear." Officials refuse to explain why officials' torture of Jehovah's Witnesses meeting for worship is not seriously investigated.

KYRGYZSTAN: Mobs twice exhume body – with impunity?

Mobs in two villages dug up the body of deceased Protestant Kanygul Satybaldiyeva, insisting non-Muslims cannot be buried in village cemeteries. Police, secret police and officials observed the exhumations but did not stop them. Officials took Satybaldiyeva's body and claim to have buried it elsewhere.

KYRGYZSTAN: Impunity for officials, mob and torturers ignoring law

On 15 February Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Jehovah's Witnesses against refusal to register communities in Osh, Naryn, Jalal-Abad, and Batken, Forum 18 News Service has learned. And on 24 February the Supreme Court sent two Jehovah's Witnesses, Nadezhda Sergienko and Oksana Koriakina, for a new trial "in total disregard of the overwhelming and unchallenged evidence of my clients' innocence", their lawyer Shane Brady told Forum 18. Elsewhere, a court rejected an appeal by the registered Elchilik Zhiyini Church against Kemin Kenesh's halting of their activity despite a decision by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court. "Our decision must be followed", Akylbek Akhmatov of the Constitutional Chamber told Forum 18. He added that "the lawyers of the Kemin Church should refer to our decision in court". The Church has not been able to meet since August 2015 and was threatened with violence at a Kenesh (council) meeting. Police have refused to take action against people they witnessed threatening violence. In another case, the authorities have refused to bring officials who tortured Jehovah's Witnesses in Osh to justice.

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