20 July 2017

TAJIKISTAN: Protestant Pastor jailed for three years

Protestant Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov has been jailed for three years for allegedly "singing extremist songs in church and so inciting ‘religious hatred'". Tajikistan has threatened family members, friends, and church members with reprisals if they reveal any details of the case, trial, or jailing. [read more...]

18 July 2017

RUSSIA: Jehovah's Witnesses now banned

Russia's Supreme Court has upheld liquidation of all Jehovah's Witness organisations as "extremist". If they exercise freedom of religion and belief, all Jehovah's Witnesses can now be criminally prosecuted. A Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector has also been ordered to work with nuclear weapons. [read more...]

13 July 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Another jail term, another trial imminent

Satymzhan Azatov was jailed for four years eight months for inciting religious hatred and promoting terrorism, which he denied. He is the fourth Muslim who studied in Saudi Arabia convicted in 2017. The trial of Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov, punished in Investigation Prison for observing Ramadan, is imminent. [read more...]

10 July 2017

AZERBAIJAN: Three years' jail for leading prayers

Sardar Babayev was jailed for three years for leading mosque prayers because he was educated abroad, the first known punishment for this "crime". Religion Law amendments now allow state exceptions to the ban. Two acquitted Jehovah's Witnesses, who spent a year in prison, offered no compensation. [read more...]

6 July 2017

AZERBAIJAN: Fined for home religious meetings, picnic

More than 20 Muslims, fined three months' average wages for a religious meeting in a home in Quba, failed in their appeals. A Baptist Pastor similarly fined will appeal to the Constitutional Court. A Muslim was fined for reading religious books aloud at a picnic. [read more...]

5 July 2017

RUSSIA: Changing administrative punishments for public events

Prosecutions under Administrative Code Article 20.2 for exercising freedom of religion and belief in public fell in 2016 as officials turned to "anti-missionary" Article 5.26 (Parts 3, 4, and 5), which came into force in July 2016. Article 5.26 offers far higher financial penalties. [read more...]

30 June 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Six jailed for sharing faith

Six months after arrest, six Sunni Muslims were jailed in Atyrau for between two and three years for sharing their faith, with post-prison bans on religious activity. Their bank accounts are likely to be frozen. They are among 18 known criminal convictions in 2017. [read more...]

29 June 2017

TAJIKISTAN: Trial imminent for arrested Pastor

The secret police's criminal case against Protestant Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov reached court in Khujand on 22 June. Officials refuse to say what charges he faces. Officials threaten Baptists in Dushanbe with fines after raiding their worship. Officials again enforce the haj ban on under-40s. [read more...]