» 07/06/2012, 00.00
After four years in prison, Uzbek Jehovah's Witness gets another 30 months
Abdubannob Ahmedov was set for release on 23 July but was convicted on unspecified charges of violating prison rules. A Baptist woman could also get three years in prison for "illegally reaching religion." Uzbek authorities continue their crackdown on religion.
Tashkent (AsiaNews/F18) - One month before the end of his four-year
sentence, Jehovah's Witness Abdubannob Ahmedov received an additional 30-month
sentence on charges of violating prison rules. Two other Jehovah's Witness
prisoners of conscience also had their prison terms extended, but have now been
freed. Four Muslims were also freed, on condition of speaking publicly in
favour of government policies. Overall, Uzbek authorities continue their
crackdown against religious believers and their activities, focusing on Protestants,
Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses without distinction.
Abdubannob Ahmedov, from
Fergana (central Uzbekistan), was given a new prison sentence of two and a half
years. The sentence came just a month before he was due to complete a four-year
prison term on 23 July, Forum 18 News
Service reported. Four years earlier, he
was convicted on alleged "illegal religious activities". He was
convicted again in accordance with Article 221 of the Criminal Code for
violating prison rules.
The fate of Yelena Kim, a
Baptist also from Fergana, remains a mystery. She faces up to three years' imprisonment on
charges of "illegally teaching religion". Police
raided her home in late June, seizing various documents, including books,
videos, Bibles, hymns as well as personal papers.
Uzbek authorities deny that religious freedom is violated in their
country. However, each community has to apply for a state permit to exercise
it. And the former are fickle about issuing such permits. Protestants,
Catholics, Muslims and Jehovah's
Witnesses are among the most affected groups with some of their members brought
to trial and convicted.
Ashgabat: second Jehovah's Witness sentenced to forced labour in 2012
Aibek Salayev, 33, was accused of "distributing pornography". Supreme Court upholds his conviction, which goes into effect immediately. He will go to the Karabogaz camp on the Caspian Sea. Another Jehovah's Witness was sentenced to two years of hard labour for conscientious objection.
Uzbek authorities force Christians, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, to go underground
Church members and religious groups complain that the state does not authorise them to operate on the basis of pretexts or by silently ignoring them. Without a permit, even meeting to pray can be punished. After many years, the Central Protestant Church is still fighting for its rights.
Tashkent: heavy fines and prison terms for Christians
Police persecute Christians even during Christmas. Fines often are worth years of wages and repeat offenders can go to prison.
Tashkent, two Jehovah's Witnesses risk 5 more years of hard labor
Olim Turaev (38 years) and Sergei Ivanov (25 years) charged by prison authorities of disobedience. In reality it is an attempt to force them to abandon their faith.
In Tashkent meeting at home to pray is a crime
The state appoints imams, chooses what goes into religious education and decides who can and who cannot go to Makkah. Non-Muslim groups are hard pressed to be recognised. Jehovah Witnesses can get two or three years in jail just for getting together.
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P. Samir Youssef
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