21 February 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Imam imprisoned after 10 years' absence

Immediately on arrival back in Kazakhstan after more than ten years' absence, secret police officers arrested Sunni Muslim imam and teacher Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov. They transferred him from Almaty to Oral (Uralsk), where he awaits criminal trial for allegedly inciting religious discord and terrorism. [read more...]

17 February 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Atheist writer faces more criminal charges

Atheist writer Aleksandr Kharlamov faces new criminal charges for a 2014 book. Police searched his home, confiscated books, and brought charges after he sought closure of the 2013 case. "They decided to protect themselves and take new action against me," he told Forum 18. [read more...]

16 February 2017

RUSSIA: Jehovah's Witnesses to be liquidated?

Russia appears to be moving to close the Jehovah's Witnesses' headquarters as "extremist". If this happens, all 406 registered local organisations and over 2,500 religious groups would be highly likely also to be liquidated, ending Jehovah's Witness open public communal life in Russia. [read more...]

15 February 2017

RUSSIA: Warnings and forced community liquidations increase

Russia's forced dissolution of local communities, literature bans, and "extremism" prosecutions increasingly restrict Jehovah's Witnesses' freedom of religion and belief. On 16 January, their national Administrative Centre in St Petersburg lost its latest legal challenge of a prosecutors' warning threatening it with liquidation. [read more...]

10 February 2017

UZBEKISTAN: Religious literature fines and confiscations continue

A car has been confiscated from a Protestant because he did not pay illegal fines for giving religious books away. The books were approved by the Religious Affairs Committee, which apparently changed its mind so as to fine the Pastor. Raids and fines continue. [read more...]

9 February 2017

AZERBAIJAN: Regime jails Muslims, doesn't arrest torturers

Eighteen people accused of association with the Muslim Unity Movement have been given long jail terms on fabricated charges. Other trials are continuing. Despite Azerbaijan's binding international human rights obligations, no officials have been arrested or put on criminal trial for torturing those convicted. [read more...]

6 February 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Criminal cases for meeting, criticising Muslim Board

Kazakhstan has detained Kuanysh Bashpayev for criticising the state-controlled Muslim Board, and Satimzhan Azatov for meeting Muslims without state permission. Both face criminal charges of "inciting religious hatred or discord", as does atheist Aleksandr Kharlamov facing a possible new trial. Bashpayev's trial opens 14 February. [read more...]

2 February 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Sharing beliefs "grave crime" requiring detention?

Kazakhstan's KNB secret police has arrested two Jehovah's Witnesses for discussing their faith with KNB informers. Teymur Akhmedov and Asaf Guliyev are in two months' pre-trial detention, although Akhmedov needs hospitalisation for cancer treatment. The Judge claimed this was to defend a "civilised society". [read more...]