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(BosNewsLife) – International concern was mounting Thursday, June 30, over the plight of Protestant Christians in Uzbekistan amid new reports of torture and apparent police reluctance to investigate the murder of an American Christian. The latest reported abuse of a teenaged Christian and other believers comes just weeks after the body of 65-year-old Kim Khen Pen Khin, a US citizen of Korean origin, was found June 11 on a street in Uzbekistan ‘s capital Tashkent . She had reportedly been assaulted and strangled. Since her death, police investigations have centered on members of the Pentecostal churches she worked with rather than on the murder itself, suggested the news agency of

Norwegian human rights group Forum 18. In a controversial move, police arrested a 19-year-old evangelical Christian, Kural Bekjanov, June 14 on false charges of involvement in the murder, Forum 18 News Service (F18News) said. But soon he “was tortured by both police officers and prisoners to try to force him to abandon Christianity,” F18News reported.

His mother, Gulya, allegedly saw him on June 26, when he had lost weight and had difficulty walking while his fingers and legs were covered in blood. “His mother heard the cries of her own son and begged them to stop beating him,” F18News quoted a church source as saying on condition of anonymity.