24 April 2019

CRIMEA: Residents "don't believe" FSB allegations against imam

Crimean Tatar imam Rustem Abilev is in two-month pre-trial detention as the Russian FSB investigates him on criminal charges of calling publicly for "extremism". Residents "don't believe the FSB allegations", says journalist Taras Ibragimov. Renat Suleimanov, a Muslim jailed for four years in January for alleged membership of Tabligh Jamaat, lost his appeal at Russia's Supreme Court. [read more...]

18 April 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: 18 prisoners of conscience, 11 restricted freedom sentences

In addition to one Muslim on trial in Shymkent, 18 individuals are known to be currently jailed for exercising freedom of religion or belief. All are Sunni Muslim men. A further 11 are serving restricted freedom sentences. A further 12 are under post-jailing bans on specific activity. A further 29 who have completed sentences still have their bank accounts blocked. [read more...]

16 April 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: Muslim faces closed trial in Shymkent

If convicted at his closed trial in Shymkent, 40-year-old Muslim Dilmurat Makhamatov faces up to 19 years' imprisonment. Kazakh police claimed he conducted "illegal preaching among Kazakhstanis via the internet" while in Saudi Arabia. After he was forcibly taken to Kazakhstan charges of "inciting religious hatred" and "propaganda of terrorism" were revealed. His friends reject the accusations. The trial resumes on 22 April. [read more...]

10 April 2019

DONBAS: Luhansk: Orthodox cathedral, more Protestant churches raided

Officials of the unrecognised Luhansk People's Republic raided at least two Protestant Sunday worship meetings on 24 March. Courts chose not to punish two pastors. On 4 April anti-"extremism" police raided the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's Holy Trinity Cathedral in Luhansk, diocesan offices and the homes of two priests. A police officer refused to say if further measures against the priests are planned. [read more...]

2 April 2019

CRIMEA: Raids, another criminal case, four appeals

Armed Russian FSB security service officers raided eight Jehovah's Witness homes around Yalta, seizing religious literature. Artem Gerasimov faces "extremism"-related criminal charges with a maximum ten year jail term, the second Crimean Jehovah's Witness to face such charges. On 16 April, Russia's Supreme Court is due to hear appeals in the cases of four Muslims convicted in January of membership of the Muslim group Tabligh Jamaat. [read more...]

25 March 2019

RUSSIA: Obstructions to Protestant theological education "systemic, intentional"?

The Pentecostal Union's Eurasian Theological Seminary's licence was annulled in October 2018 after inspectors questioned its theology course. The Baptist Union's Moscow Theological Seminary was suspended for 60 days from January 2019, and banned from admitting new students. Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin says these actions are "systemic, intentional". [read more...]

22 March 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: More raids on worship, fines

Police raided a third Baptist church in Taraz, summarily fining two more worshippers. Only one of five now fined did not appeal. "We don't pay fines voluntarily, so they'll take the money from his pension," a Baptist noted. Police raided a Hare Krishna meeting in Atyrau. Officials later withdrew the prosecution. [read more...]

20 March 2019

TAJIKISTAN: Jailed, awaiting trial on "incitement" charges

Despite recent surgery, retired widower, Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov, is in pre-trial detention in Khujand under criminal investigation for "inciting religious hatred". If tried and convicted he faces five to ten years' imprisonment. His arrest followed widespread raids, interrogations and torture of local Jehovah's Witnesses. [read more...]