Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Uzbekistan: Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses to pay large fines for "illegal" religious literature


Anti-Terrorism Police with ordinary police often conduct illegal searches of homes without a search warrant, as happened when police raided Council of Churches Baptist Stanislav Kim's home. 

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Forum 18 News
By Mushfig Bayram | June 7, 2016

Uzbekistan is continuing raids, large fines and confiscation of "illegal" religious literature, as Protestants and Jehovah's Witnesses are being heavily fined and, in most cases, the fine amounts are far beyond their means. Asked whether people have freedom of religion and belief, a Judge told Forum 18 "maybe".

Known cases between January and May resulted in 18 Protestants and 11 Jehovah's Witnesses being fined up to 60 times the minimum monthly salary each.

Anti-Terrorism Police with ordinary police often conduct illegal searches of homes without a search warrant, as happened when police raided Council of Churches Baptist Stanislav Kim's home.

Other known cases have involved Jehovah's Witnesses being stopped and searched as they left Fergana, and the possible use of a police agent provocateur to entrap two Urgench female Jehovah's Witnesses as they shared their beliefs and literature with a woman in a flat.

On 23 May Judge Khozhahmet Asanov upheld fines for illegal religious literature on 14 Protestants who met to mark International Woman's Day, the fines totalling 350 times the minimum monthly wage.

"Why should we pay such huge fines, which none of us can afford, for just meeting with our friends?" a Protestant asked.

Forum 18 asked the Judge whether people in Uzbekistan can exercise freedom of religion and belief. He replied "maybe" before putting the phone down. [more ...]

(Edited by TOA)


Read original post here: Uzbekistan: Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses to pay large fines for "illegal" religious literature


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