16 August 2018

TURKMENISTAN: Now eight jailed conscientious objectors

With two jailings in August, eight conscientious objectors aged 18 to 24 are now serving labour camp terms of one to two years. Forum 18 could not reach Human Rights Ombudsperson Yazdursun Gurbannazarova to ask why young men are jailed for refusing military service on grounds of conscience. [read more...]

14 August 2018

RUSSIA: 2017 prosecutions for religious literature - list

List of 54 known prosecutions under Administrative Code Article 20.29 in 2017 for religious materials which do not incite violence or hatred. 49 resulted in conviction in first instance, with 48 fines and one 2-day jail term. Judges ordered literature confiscated in 20 cases and destroyed in a further 20 cases. [read more...]

13 August 2018

RUSSIA: Prosecutions for religious literature continue

Individuals and communities face punishment for distributing religious books courts have deemed "extremist". Punishments are mostly fines, but in 2017 a court jailed a Muslim for two days for lending a book to colleagues. 2017 saw fewer prosecutions than earlier, mainly because Jehovah's Witnesses – banned as "extremist" – face potential criminal charges. [read more...]

10 August 2018

TURKMENISTAN: Conscientious objector's maximum two-year jail term

Turkmenbashi City Court jailed 19-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Mekan Annayev for the maximum two years for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. Five others have already been jailed in 2018, one in an apparent show trial. Two more young men face trial in August. [read more...]

7 August 2018

DONBAS: Luhansk: Armed raids, worship bans, fines

Armed men – often from the State Security Ministry or police of the self-declared Luhansk People's Republic – often raid religious communities, halt worship meetings and seize religious literature. Courts hand down fines of several weeks' average wages to punish "illegal" worship meetings. A further ban on unapproved worship is imminent. [read more...]

30 July 2018

TURKMENISTAN: Three more conscientious objectors jailed

Three Jehovah's Witnesses were jailed in July for one year each for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of religious conscience. They are among at least five conscientious objectors jailed so far in 2018, all of them Jehovah's Witnesses. Prosecutor's Offices are still investigating others. [read more...]

27 July 2018

TURKMENISTAN: Appeals against 12-year jail terms fail

Five Muslims who met to study the works of theologian Said Nursi have failed to overturn their 12-year jail terms at Turkmenistan's Supreme Court. Four of the five are in the top-security prison at Ovadan-Depe, where prisoners have suffered torture and death from abuse or neglect. [read more...]

26 July 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Restricted freedom, community service for religious meetings

A judge in Aktobe Region punished seven Muslims with restricted freedom sentences of one to three years for holding religious meetings. Four were also given 120 hours' community service. A court has awarded compensation to atheist writer Aleksandr Kharlamov who was held for six months during a nearly six-year criminal investigation. [read more...]