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(Compass) – Police in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent raided the Bethany Baptist Church during Sunday worship on October 17, declaring the service an “illegal religious meeting” and demanding the pastor promise to stop all the church’s activities. Pastor Nikolai Shevchenko declined to do so. After confiscating samples of literature found in the church sanctuary and classrooms, the officers left, telling the pastor and eight members that they would be called to answer in court over the case. A member of the Baptist Union, Shevchenko’s church has been seeking official registration in vain for the past eight years. Despite a three-year lull in police actions against their activities, the church remains caught in an apparent standoff between local city regulations and the government’s restrictive registration laws instituted in 1998.