Uzbekistan : Two Years Correctional Labor for Unregistered Religious Activity
(Forum 18 News) A Baptist has been sentenced to two years correctional labour, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Nikolai Zulfikarov was sentenced on 29 November under Uzbekistan ‘s Criminal Code for “teaching religious doctrines without special religious education and without permission from a central organ of administration of a religious organisation, as well as teaching religion privately”.
Zulfikarov, who led the five member Khalkabad unregistered Baptist church, was also sentenced to the state 20 per cent of his earnings over the the next two years. It is not clear whether Zulfikarov will appeal against the decision. Asked whether it was illegal to be a religious believer in Uzbekistan , Judge Bakhrom Batyrov told Forum 18 that the laws of Uzbekistan prohibit people worshipping and praying together without being legally registered. This is the latest sentence against a member of one of Uzbekistan ‘s religious minorities, which along with the majority Muslim community continue to be put under severe official pressure.