» 01/15/2010, 00.00
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.
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.
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.
Uzbek state media campaign against freedom of worship and religion
Official newspapers pursue a campaign against religious communities and believers, such as Protestants and Jehovah's Witnesses. One of their accusations is that the latter "turn children into zombies". Victims of slander have no chance to reply. In one case, defamatory articles led to four Christians losing their job.
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.
Bible burning and high fines for those who pray
"Unauthorized" religious minorities are continuously condemned for "illegal religious activities" because believers pray or come together in church. Police frequently conduct raids in places of worship to identify those present.
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