25 September 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Senate to adopt "extremely harsh" religion amendments?

Parliament's upper house is due to hold its first and possibly also second reading on 27 September of wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan's Religion Law and other laws. "This draft Law is extremely harsh, harms the rights of believers and should not be adopted in its current form," a Muslim told Forum 18. [read more...]

21 September 2018

TURKMENISTAN: Tenth jailed conscientious objector in 2018

Turkmenistan rejected a call at the UN Human Rights Council UPR to introduce an alternative to compulsory military service. The rejection came weeks after another conscientious objector, 18-year-old Serdar Atayev, was jailed for one year. Ten are known to have been jailed in 2018. [read more...]

20 September 2018

UZBEKISTAN: Jailings "to intimidate all who speak about freedoms"

After police and secret police home raids, at least eight bloggers were jailed "to intimidate all others who want to speak about freedoms", a relative of one told Forum 18. Tashkent blogger Adkham Olimov, jailed for 15 days and fined at a midnight court hearing, had to pay for his own jailing. [read more...]

18 September 2018

AZERBAIJAN: Second 2018 conscientious objector conviction

On 6 September, a court in western Azerbaijan handed a criminal conviction to a second Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector. Vahid Abilov received a one-year suspended prison term and will be under probation for one year. He is planning to appeal. Three more similar cases might follow. [read more...]

14 September 2018

UZBEKISTAN: Secret Supreme Court hearing rejects appeal

Without his participation or knowledge, Uzbekistan's Supreme Court rejected Gayrat Ziyakhojayev's appeal against his criminal conviction for sharing Muslim texts with friends. A Tashkent Region court returned a criminal case against a Jehovah's Witness couple to prosecutors. The case seeks to punish them for sharing their faith with others. [read more...]

13 September 2018

RUSSIA: Criminal investigations of 69 Jehovah's Witnesses - list

Full list of 69 Jehovah's Witnesses charged or named as suspects or currently on trial for "extremism"-related offences as of 13 September 2018. Of these, 25 are in detention, 9 under house arrest and 30 under travel restrictions. Four are thought not to be under restrictions. [read more...]

13 September 2018

RUSSIA: Criminal investigations of 69 Jehovah's Witnesses

Amid continuing police, FSB and Investigative Committee raids across Russia, 69 Jehovah's Witnesses are now facing criminal investigations. Of these, 25 are in detention, 9 under house arrest, and 30 under travel restrictions. Three trials are already underway, including of Dennis Christensen, in detention since May 2017. [read more...]

11 September 2018

AZERBAIJAN: Heavy fines for selling unapproved literature

Samad Alikhanov and Zakir Mirzayev were fined up to five months' average wages for offering religious literature for sale without state permission. The literature was confiscated. On 18 September a Baku court resumes hearing theologian Elshad Miri's suit against the State Committee pre-publication ban on his book on Islam. [read more...]