23 January 2017

TURKMENISTAN: Two prisoner of conscience deaths from torture?

Two Muslims jailed for attending meetings in Turkmenabad died in top-security Ovadan-Depe prison. At least one had been beaten there. Relatives were ordered not to reveal the state of their bodies, but one weighed only 25 kilogrammes. Interior Ministry officials refused to say if their deaths were investigated. [read more...]

20 January 2017

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 three were not given the jail sentences the law requires. Human rights defenders and the family condemned the punishments as "not appropriate and not effective". [read more...]

17 January 2017

AZERBAIJAN: Police claim "everything was done well"

Three Jehovah's Witnesses, two Baptists, and a bookseller have each been fined three to four months' average wages. Their "offences" include discussing beliefs, offering religious literature, and meeting for prayer. And an unlicensed mosque has been raided and had allegedly "superstitious" items confiscated. [read more...]

13 January 2017

RUSSIA: Religious freedom survey, January 2017

Russian laws restricting freedom of religion and belief have increased, as have prosecutions of people exercising this freedom. Given intensifying official hostility to independent public activities without state permission, freedom of religion and belief and interlinked human rights may in future be increasingly restricted. [read more...]

9 January 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Five more Sunni Muslim "missionaries" imprisoned

Five Sunni Muslims in Almaty Region - arrested by the KNB secret police in July 2016 – were imprisoned in late December for up to 3 years for alleged membership of the banned Tabligh Jamaat missionary movement. 46 Muslims have been sentenced since December 2014. [read more...]

6 January 2017

TURKMENISTAN: Religious freedom survey, January 2017

Freedom of religion and belief, with interlinked freedoms such as expression, association, and assembly, continues to be seriously restricted in Turkmenistan. Forum 18's survey analysis documents the regime's many freedom of religion and belief violations imposed as part of a policy to control society. [read more...]

5 January 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: New controls on religious travel and literature

"Anti-terrorism" legal changes ignoring OSCE recommendations impose foreign religious travel controls, restrict religion book imports "for personal use" to one copy per title, and reinforce state censorship of books and materials on religion. An "anti-extremism" campaign against freedom of religion and belief is planned. [read more...]

20 December 2016

RUSSIA: Inconsistency of "anti-missionary" punishments

Confusion and inconsistency mark decisions whether to prosecute individuals and religious organisations for sharing beliefs under so-called "anti-missionary" punishments, which came into force in July, and what the outcome of court hearings is. Of 31 known prosecutions, 16 ended with convictions and fines so far. [read more...]