Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

During Easter week, Christians all over the world gather to celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In Uzbekistan, when several Baptist families gathered in a private home for such a celebration, their shared meal was cut short by a police raid. Fifteen officials broke into the home, confiscated numerous Christian books and materials, and took the believers down to the police station, ordering them to write confessions or sign police reports against themselves. The Baptists anticipate receiving fines for their recent religious activity soon.

By Mushfig Bayram

5/9/2014 Uzbekistan (Forum 18) – [In Uzbekistan’s] Syrdarya Region, 15 officials in mid-April raided and disrupted the celebration of the Easter week and shared meal of the local Baptist Church held in the private home of a church member. Police also confiscated religious literature from the home. The Baptists told Forum 18 that the authorities are preparing fines against their members.

Fifteen officials, including three criminal police officers, Shukhrat Nazarov of the Regional Police, Oybek Turdiyev and Bekzod Yusupov of Syrdarya District Police, broke into the private house of church member Andrei Shevchenko, where the congregation was meeting. Also present were his wife Galina Shevchenko and eight other adult church members, together with their 12 children.

Officials seized a Bible, two children’s Bibles, ten Christian song books, four children’s song books, one notebook for piano lessons, four notebooks with personal notes, one video-cassette tape of a Christian children’s cartoon, and ten pages of notes with Bible citations on them from the home, Baptists complained.

Officers then took all the adults and children present in the home to Syrdarya District Police, where they compelled them to write statements. Under pressure from officers, Stanislav Shegai, Nadezhda Matrosova, Sergei Yermakov and Aleksandr Kolomeytsev wrote statements. Others refused to write statements or sign the police reports.

Officer Turdiyev of Syrdarya District Police defended the raid. The Baptists gathered together for prayer and Bible reading, which “according to our Law is not allowed,” he told Forum 18 on 8 May. “If people want to pray they can go and do it inside churches and mosques which are officially allowed.”

Asked how he and his colleagues determined that the Baptists were there not to have a common meal but have religious activity, Officer Turdiyev said that they “received an instruction from above to go to check up on the gathering.” He refused to say who gave the instruction, and what punishments are being prepared against the Baptists.

“At the moment Syrdarya Police is waiting for the expert analysis [of the seized literature] from the State Religious Affairs Committee in Tashkent.” As many as ten adults may receive fines soon, the Baptists [told Forum 18].

[Full Story]