22 September 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Criminal cases, and no alternative service

Four Jehovah's Witness young men could face up to one year's imprisonment for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience if criminal investigations against them reach court. Military Conscription Offices rejected their certificates as religious ministers despite the law granting exemption to "clergy of registered religious associations". [read more...]

21 September 2017

GEORGIA: Constitutional changes to impose impermissible freedom restrictions?

Constitutional changes already adopted in second reading would allow restrictions on freedom of religion and belief based on vague criteria, including "state [national] security or public safety", an impermissible restriction. Human rights defenders object to the proposed changes. Parliament's final reading is expected on 26 September. [read more...]

12 September 2017

TAJIKISTAN: Id al-Adha restrictions, haj returnee celebrations banned

Teachers were banned from attending mosque on Muslim festival Id al-Adha. They and children were forced to attend school, even though the state declared it a holiday. Officials banned haj pilgrimage returnees from holding celebratory meals. Traditions Law amendments and increased punishments have come into force. [read more...]

11 September 2017

UZBEKISTAN: Religious freedom survey, September 2017

Freedom of religion and belief, with interlinked freedoms of expression, association, and assembly, remains severely restricted in Uzbekistan. Forum 18's survey analysis documents violations including: raids, fines, imprisonment and torture; education and worship meetings banned without state permission; and religious literature censorship and destruction. [read more...]

6 September 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Worship banned

Courts banned worship by Almaty's Source of Life Protestant Church from April to July, Almaty's Jehovah's Witness Centre from August to November, and – if its appeal fails – Oskemen's New Life Protestant Church for three months. Jehovah's Witnesses described their ban as "a grossly disproportionate penalty". [read more...]

31 August 2017

TAJIKISTAN: Conscientious objector's military trial imminent

18-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Daniil Islamov faces up to two years' imprisonment if convicted at Qurghonteppa Military Court. Forcibly conscripted in April, he has been detained in a military unit. Protestant Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov lost his appeal against his three-year prison term. [read more...]

29 August 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: 22nd known 2017 criminal conviction

Sunni Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov was jailed for eight years for inciting religious hatred "with serious consequences", charges he denied. He is the 22nd individual convicted in 2017. Seven others jailed have failed in their appeals. One of two criminal cases against atheist Aleksandr Kharlamov has been closed. [read more...]

25 August 2017

RUSSIA: First prosecution after Jehovah's Witness ban

In the first prosecution since the Jehovah's Witness ban came into force, Kursk prosecutors are investigating a woman on "extremism" criminal charges for offering leaflets to passers-by. Elsewhere, Jehovah's Witness elder Yury Zalipayev is under investigation on "extremism" charges. Five Muslim Nursi readers are on trial. [read more...]