06/21/2007, 00.00
UZBEKISTAN
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"Too dangerous to hold prayer meeting”: a protestant group is dissolved

Threats continue, the police controls those who go to Church, faithful who meet together are fined, The pastor of the Church describes his painful decision.

Tashkent (AsiaNews/F18) – The Resurrection Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Andijan for years has been subjected to police control, threats, fines and requisitions.  Now its leaders “have decided to close it down because it is too dangerous to continue to meet” to pray.  

Pastor Bakhtier Tuichiev told Forum 18 agency that “We have faced such pressure from the leaders of the local mahallas [urban districts] and from the prosecutor, especially this year. It is too painful to talk about all the threats and insults we have had to endure”. A police car is constantly outside the church; his home is also under constant control, to see who calls on him.  He has been banned from leaving the country.  The faithful have been hit with heavy fines; he also received one for having held an “illegal” prayer meeting in December 2006.ù

Since 2002 this Church has been seeking legal recognition as is required by Uzbek law, but it was not conceded thus rendering all of its activities illegal, even prayer.

For some time now, Protestant Christians and other religious minorities are being threatened, arrested, requisitioned and banned from leaving the country.  Mahalla officials often incite the Islamic majority to check on the faithful of other religions and impede their practice of their faith.

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