14 October 2019

UZBEKISTAN: Muslim bloggers' sentences imminent?

The Prosecutor asked Tashkent City Court to give 48-year-old Tulkun Astanov a five-year suspended sentence, and 44-year-old Rustambek Karimov a three-and-a-half-year jail term, with a verdict expected on or after 18 October. The two Muslim bloggers are being punished for visiting the state-controlled Muslim Board to discuss hijab bans and other restrictions on freedom of religion or belief. [read more...]

11 October 2019

RUSSIA: Jehovah's Witness criminal cases - list

Full list of 239 Jehovah's Witnesses across Russia facing criminal prosecution on extremism-related charges for exercising freedom of religion or belief. Of these, 33 are in pre-trial detention. Trials of 25 are already underway. Eight more have already been convicted. Raids, arrests and interrogations continue. [read more...]

10 October 2019

TRANSDNIESTER: Conscientious objectors banned from leaving

Three Jehovah's Witnesses returning to Transdniester to visit family were called up for military service in May, and banned from leaving. "I've been living with this uncertainty for nearly half a year, unable to leave, work or relax," Mikhail Yeremeyev told Forum 18. Proposed Alternative Service Law amendments would subjugate alternative service applications to the personnel needs of the military. [read more...]

4 October 2019

RUSSIA: Jailings "equate peaceful believers with dangerous criminals"

The jailing of six Jehovah's Witnesses in Saratov for up to three and a half years "equates peaceful believers with dangerous criminals", Jehovah's Witnesses complain. The Prosecutor's Office did not respond as to why it considered these men dangerous and should be jailed. A Khabarovsk court sentenced another man to assigned labour for discussing Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. [read more...]

27 September 2019

AZERBAIJAN: Large fine amid continuing religious censorship

A Baku court fined Kamran Huseynzade four months' average wages for selling religious books outside a mosque without state permission. The head of the censorship department at the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations lamented that only 42 of 100 places selling religious literature have the required state licence. All published and imported religious literature is subject to prior compulsory censorship. [read more...]

17 September 2019

RUSSIA: Mosque demolished, church to follow?

Officials repeatedly rebuffed attempts to legalise ownership of the land where Good News Pentecostal Church in Samara has worshipped for two decades. Officials want to demolish the church, at the congregation's expense. A court hearing is due on 25 September. In May, officials bulldozed a mosque built on farmland near Chernyakhovsk in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, claiming it violated planning regulations. [read more...]

12 September 2019

BELARUS: New possible fines for unapproved worship

On 18 July, criminal punishments for unregistered religious activities, including worship meetings, ended, but were replaced by summary fines of up to five weeks' average wage. "Some church members will be scared and stop coming to worship services or, God forbid, the authorities will impose a restraining order on the church's property," the leader of an unregistered Christian community commented. [read more...]

11 September 2019

TAJIKISTAN: Pensioner jailed until August 2026

In a closed hearing in prison, a judge in Khujand on 10 September jailed 68-year-old Jehovah's Witness Shamil Khakimov for seven years, six months in strict regime custody for "inciting religious hatred". On release in August 2026, aged 74, Khakimov would be banned from religious activity until August 2029. "I am guilty of nothing," he told the court and is expected to appeal. [read more...]