April 2010 – Uzbekistan
Musfig Bayram of the Forum 18 News Service has issued the following report:
“Two Protestant Christians in southern Uzbekistan have been given 15 day jail terms, local sources have told Forum 18 News Service. Azamat Rajapov and Abdusattor Kurbonov were apparently sentenced for unregistered religious activity and began their jail terms on 23 April. No notice was given of the trial and the first the prisoners’ families and friends knew was a brief telephone call from one informing them the two were in jail for 15 days. The cases mark a resumption of the policy of using 5 to 15-day jail sentences against selected Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. In a separate case the head of the police in Almalyk, near the capital Tashkent, has continued sending letters threatening religious believes with criminal charges. In incidents unrelated to these two cases, Forum 18 continues to be made aware of women (and sometimes men) detained for their religious activity being targeted by male officials with overt or implied threats of sexual violence. Forum 18 notes that it is highly unusual for victims to want to document their experiences publicly.”
For a full account, please see Bayram’s article on the Forum 18 website.