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UZBEKISTAN: “All believers are backward-looking fanatics who drag society down”
ICC Note:
Numerous fines and raids on “religious believers” occurred in 2012 and have continued in 2013. Many of these were done in private homes, and even against members of officially registered churches. One believer was fined for discussing his religion with his neighbor after a judge deemed that “illegal missionary activity.”

By Mushfig Bayram
4/15/2013 Uzbekistan (Forum18)-And four Protestants in Tashkent Region lost their appeal against large fines handed down in December 2012 to punish them for participating in a religious meeting (see below).
Raids on religious worship and fines to punish participants come as known religious believers also face frequent raids on their private homes, often without a warrant. Religious literature and other property is seized and fines described as “unbelievably high” are handed down.

Fines given in 2012
Tursunova was fined for unauthorised religious activity by Judge Ilhom Rahmankulov of Mubarek District Criminal Court on 2 April 2012. Fined with her were Khanyukov, and two other church members, Valeri Stepanov and Yekaterina Dyu. Other church members were given official warnings (see F18News 9 May 2012
The Baptists told Forum 18 that the Court had also summoned Juratayeva to the same hearing as a defendant, since she happened to be in the same home where the officials raided the Baptists and so her name was recorded as a “violator.” She could not attend the hearing since she had to travel on that day to a hospital in the capital Tashkent with her sick child (who suffers with encephalopathy). The following day, 3 April 2012, Juratayeva was fined 250,000 Soms for “contempt of court”, the Baptists told Forum 18.
Fined for discussing religion
Judge Abkhan Hashimov of Fergana Region’s Kokand City Criminal Court on 11 January fined Rasuljon Ahmedov, a member of an officially registered Baptist Church, for missionary activity, according to the court decision seen by Forum 18. Missionary activity is banned by the Religion Law.
Ahmedov was found guilty under Administrative Code Article 240, Part 2 (violation of the Religion Law). Judge Hashimov fined him 20 times the minimum monthly wage, 1,591,800 Soms (4,500 Norwegian Kroner, 600 Euros or 775 US Dollars at the inflated official exchange rate).
Judge Hashimov claims in his decision without giving any specifics that it was established that on 10 January Ahmedov “propagandised his religious beliefs to his neighbour S. Isakov [first name not given] (..) and offered him to receive the Christian religion”. The Judge qualified this as missionary activity. The verdict is short – just one and a half pages – and gives no details as to how the alleged violation was established. It merely notes that Ahmedov and Isakov in their statements acknowledged the claims.
Asked on what basis he decided Ahmedov violated the Law, in other words was involved in illegal missionary activity, Judge Hashimov told Forum 18 on 10 April that he gave his arguments in the decision.
Told that the decision gives no other details other than that Ahmedov discussed his beliefs with his neighbour, and asked how a conversation between two neighbours about their beliefs can be qualified as missionary activity, Judge Hashimov declined to explain to Forum 18. “If you are not happy, you can complain,” he said categorically, “I am the Judge, and I gave my decision.” He then put the phone down.
Appeal against fines fails
Four Protestants fined in December 2012 for leading an unregistered worship meeting failed to overturn their fines on appeal. On 4 February, Tashkent Regional Court upheld the Region’s Bostanlyk District Criminal Court 24 December 2012 decision handing down large fines to Gennady Chen, Vladimir Zhikhar, Aleksandr Lokshev and Gennady Timoyev, Protestants familiar with the case told Forum 18.
Each of the four was fined 50 times the minimum monthly wage or 3,979,500 Soms (11,000 Norwegian Kroner, 1,500 Euros, or 2,000 US Dollars at the inflated official exchange rate) (see F18News 31 January 2013
Two more Protestants who participated in the same worship meeting were threatened by the authorities to be given similarly large fines. However, Forum 18 has learned that their cases did not reach court.

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