4 December 2019

CRIMEA: UN call to halt Cathedral eviction

The United Nations Human Rights Committee is considering an appeal by 62 parishioners of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine's Sts Volodymyr and Olga Cathedral in the Crimean capital Simferopol. Russian courts ordered the eviction of the community from the building it has rented since 1995. The UN Committee warned Russia not to evict the community while it considers the appeal. [read more...]

28 November 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: Appeals rejected in absentia

Eight prisoners of conscience have lost their appeals against long jail terms for discussing Islam on a WhatsApp group. Almaty City Court rejected the appeals on 20 November in their absence. Even before the decision came into force, the authorities transferred them to often distant labour camps. One is in a Shymkent camp, where another Muslim was tortured. [read more...]

26 November 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: Imminent prison trial for ailing prisoner

Despite a serious heart condition – possibly needing an operation - Zhuldyzbek Taurbekov's criminal trial begins at Almaty's Investigation Prison No. 18 on 3 December. Eight arrested with him 13 months ago for participating in a WhatsApp group on Islam have already been jailed. Only six people – including only one relative – are allowed to attend the "open" trial. [read more...]

22 November 2019

TURKMENISTAN: Latest conscientious objector jailed for three years

A court in Mary Region jailed 26-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Serdar Dovletov for three years despite his chronic stomach ulcer that requires medical attention. Investigators accused him of "fraudulently" evading compulsory military service. Nine other conscientious objectors are serving jail terms in the Seydi labour camp in eastern Turkmenistan. [read more...]

14 November 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: Three pastors' convictions "an unjust court decision"

An Almaty court has jailed three pastors in absentia for between four and five years in a case described by one human rights defender as "complete drivel". New Life Church has been told its problems will end if it pays money to officials or collaborates with the secret police. [read more...]

8 November 2019

UZBEKISTAN: Haj pilgrims face state control, bribery, blacklists

Uzbekistan imposes severe restrictions on haj pilgrims, including using blacklists to bar devout Muslims, arbitrarily restricting who can go on the pilgrimage. Controls are complex and multilayered, involving the SSS secret police, the Muftiate, and the government's Religious Affairs Committee. The system's complexity facilitates corruption. [read more...]

6 November 2019

TURKMENISTAN: Two new conscientious objector jailings

On 29 October, Ashgabad City Court rejected appeals of two 18-year-old Jehovah's Witnesses, David Petrosov and Selim Taganov, against their one-year jail terms for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. Nine conscientious objectors are now jailed, six of them in 2019. The United Nations ruled that Turkmenistan violated the rights of three more conscientious objectors jailed in 2013. [read more...]

30 October 2019

CRIMEA: Four months in Russian prison punishment cell

Prison officials in Russia's Kabardino-Balkariya Region will not say why they put Crimean prisoner of conscience Renat Suleimanov in a punishment cell in July, where he remains. Suleimanov was jailed as an "extremist" as an alleged adherent of the Tabligh Jamaat Muslim movement. The criminal trial of Jehovah's Witness Sergei Filatov has begun. Imam Rustem Abilev was fined three months' average wages. [read more...]