Posted by: becketfund | March 18, 2009

Uzbekistan: Four Protestants Jailed After House Raid

ANDIJON – In addition to imposing long prison sentences on Muslims accused of following the theologian Said Nursi, Uzbekistan has, since the beginning of March, imposed jail terms on and detained numerous Protestant members, Forum 18 reported on March 18. Three Protestants were each jailed for 15 days, after police raided a meal in a private home where the three were present, and three more were held in a homeless center, for between four to eleven days, for not having identity documents with them. Asked why individuals must ask for permission to gather for religious purposes, the judge involved in the Protestant cases told Forum 18 that “I am not a law-maker, and I don’t want to discuss the law.” In a separate case, a Baptist was jailed for 10 days after some 20 officials from various state agencies—including the Presidential Administration—raided a prayer meeting in a registered church. Officials told church members that they need special permission for any services apart from those on Sundays, though Forum 18 can find no requirement for this in published laws or regulations. Attempts to discuss this upsurge in detentions of Protestants and Muslims, since the beginning of March 2009 with any official at the Uzbek Parliament’s Human Rights Ombudsperson’s Office were unsuccessful.

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