17 January 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: Courts' book-destroying "barbarism" continues

A Judge ordered destroyed 85 Islamic booklets seized from an individual for offering them for sale without state permission, telling Forum 18 he "doesn't need" them. Another court ordered "Bible Stories" destroyed. "Sad", "ABSURD" and "not in accord with international standards" are some responses to these destruction orders. [read more...]

9 January 2019

CRIMEA: "Anti-missionary" prosecutions double in 2018

Compared to the first year they were implemented, punishments in Russian-occupied Crimea for ill-defined "missionary activity" doubled in 2018. Of 23 prosecutions for sharing faith or holding worship at unapproved venues, 19 ended in punishment. Also, 17 cases were brought for communities not using their full legal name. [read more...]

20 December 2018

AZERBAIJAN: Six years already, nearly six months more

Rearrested days before a six year jail term for protesting against a ban on schoolgirls wearing headscarves ended, Telman Shiraliyev was sentenced to an additional nearly six month term. "The trial was short and took place without a lawyer as his family is too poor to afford one," human rights defender Elshan Hasanov told Forum 18. [read more...]

19 December 2018

TAJIKISTAN: Killed prisoners denied Muslim funerals

Around 50 prisoners killed in suppressing a Khujand Labour Camp riot were denied religious funerals. Officials banned washing of bodies or any Islamic prayers. Sugd Police Deputy Head claimed statements that families were not allowed to bury their dead according to Muslim rites were untrue. "Whoever says that is lying!" [read more...]

18 December 2018

TAJIKISTAN: Arrest not pardon follows "repentance"

Secret police arrested Mukhtadi Abdulkodyrov for being a Salafi Muslim, two days after his return to Tajikistan from Saudi Arabia. He had written a letter of "repentance". Police opened a criminal case against Jehovah's Witness Mujibahon Isanova for complaining about a teacher's bullying of her eight-year-old son. [read more...]

12 December 2018

BELARUS: Fined for singing, offering religious literature

Police stopped a Baptist husband and wife from singing and offering Christian literature outside Lepel's market. "We were detained like criminals and brought to the police station," Andrei Fokin complained. A court fined the couple one month's average wages each. Bailiffs are seeking to confiscate property and ban him from driving. [read more...]

11 December 2018

BELARUS: Order not to register new religious communities?

"We want to comply with the law and gather for religious meetings without fear of raids, fines or detentions," says Pastor Vyacheslav Novakovsky of Your Will Be Done Church. A Minsk official involved in the four registration rejections since 2017 told him of "an order from superiors not to register any new communities". She refused to explain this to Forum 18. [read more...]

7 December 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Second long jailing for online Islamic talks

A court jailed 28-year-old father of one Dadash Mazhenov for over seven years for posting Islamic talks online, the second jailing by the same court. The secret police claimed the talks promoted terrorism, which both men reject. The judge sought to have Mazhenov's lawyer punished for "correctly defending the interests of his client". [read more...]