» 05/25/2013, 00.00
Uzbek Christian convicted of possessing Bibles and religious material
Sentenced to 18 months "corrective" work and part of his salary paid to the State as a fine. The fear is that he will be sent to cotton fields for harvest, exhausting work. In the capital, a group of believers punished with "heavy fines" for having met in a home to read "Christian material."
Tashkent (AsiaNews/F18) - The
Uzbek authorities have sentenced a Protestant Christian in Urgench, in the
northwest of the country to 18 months of "corrective labor", charged with
"illegal production, storage, importation or distribution of religious
judge Makhmud Makhmudov ruled that the woman should carry out menial jobs at
the complete service of the state, while a good part of her salary be handed
over as payment of a fine. In
addition, for the next few months she can only travel within the state.
In a second incident of violation
of religious freedom, a group of people in the capital were sentenced to heavy
fines for "gathering" to pray and read Christian material (a Bible)
in a private home.
sources said that the secret police artfully assembled fake evidence to nail
Sharofat Allamova, who was then convicted in a sham trial. The
possession of religious materials is strictly controlled by the State, with a
heavy censorship of the Committee for Religious Affairs, which often targets
the Christian minority.
The double raid on the private
home took place in January and the court only ruled on the case recently, in
accordance with Article 244-3 of the Criminal Code. Already
in May 2012 she had suffered similar punishment, again for possession of
religious materials. In
addition to the confiscation of the Bible and other texts, the biggest fear is
that the woman can be shipped to the cotton fields for the autumn harvest. As
repeatedly denounced by organizations and activists, the state uses the work of
minors and convicts for the grueling task.
88% of the Uzbek population is of
the Sunni Muslim faith while Christians make up 8%. In
the country, confessional freedom is subject limited by the government. The
annual report of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, published on April
30, under the heading "Countries subject of particular attention" included
a list of 15 governments including that of Tashkent.
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.
Tashkent, punishes those who lend or gift Bibles to children
Police intimidation and a stern warning to a Baptist Church that gives money to children. A woman who gifts a bible to a friend fined more than 4 years' salary. 3 Islamic clerics who are studying in Arab countries “dismissed”.
Tashkent, pensioners fined and Bibles destroyed: 'The state is obsessed with religion'
National Police launch a series of simultaneous raids near the Uzbek capital in search of religious books and materials. Two elderly people "guilty" of having sacred texts at home forced to pay a fine equal to two years pension. A Protestant source: "The authorities moved by fear."
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, 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.
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The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
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