Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

(WorldNetDaily) – An Uzbekistan pastor facing up to eight years in prison for leading an unregistered church is asking for the prayers of fellow Christian believers in the West, says the Voice of the Martyrs, an organization fighting for the persecuted church around the world. Two members of the Bethany Protestant Church in Tashkent have already been punished for “illegally” teaching their faith, while six others – including Pastor Nikolai Shevchenko – are due to face trial next month for leading an unregistered religious organization. The church has repeatedly been denied registration in a district of the city where mosques are banned also. On June 10, a criminal court sentenced Nail Kalinkin to 15 days in prison and fined his wife, Marina , the equivalent of $68. They were found guilty of expounding the meaning of biblical texts. Uniformed and plain clothes police officers burst into the Bethany Church during the Sunday service June 12. The authorities cut short the service, saying that the church could not meet there any more. They demanded the pastors write statements explaining the reason for the meeting. Shevchenko and five other church members were taken to the police station. When interrogations began, Shevchenko asked for an attorney to be present.

“Those at the police station answered us that they required neither lawyer nor summons, because all they needed was to destroy us,” he said. He has been repeatedly fined since 2000 for leading an unregistered religious community. In 2001, he was accused of unlawful religious activity and faced criminal charges, but the case was closed after pressure from the international community.