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UZBEKISTAN: Another jailing, large fines for meeting upheld, more confiscations

In Uzbekistan, religious freedoms in Uzbekistan are routinely violated by state officials. Recently, police illegally raided the home of a Protestant woman in her absence, searching for religious materials and harassing friends and relatives with questions. Local Protestants suspect police are “making attempts to falsify a case against her.”

By Mushfig Bayram

7/24/2014 Uzbekistan (Forum 18) – On 11 July in the central city of Karshi [Qarshi] six uniformed police officers raided the private home of Gulzhahon Kuzebayeva, a local Protestant, even though she was not at home. Police conducted an illegal search, for which they had no search warrant, “for religious materials or a religious meeting but found nothing” Protestants who wish to remain anonymous for fear of state reprisals told Forum 18 on 18 July.

Relatives present in Kuzebayeva’s home were questioned by police officers Olim Gulomov, Bakhtiyor Babayeva and Javlon Sharipov, “who did not answer when they were asked on what legal authority they broke in and made the search.”

Police behaved in what was described as an insulting manner and questioned relatives about where Kuzebayeva was, how she made a living, who her friends and acquaintances are, and other information on her and her relatives. Local people described this as “an unlawful interference in her private life and an attack on her honour and reputation.”

A woman’s honour is a culturally extremely important and sensitive matter in Uzbekistan. Possibly for this reason, women seem to be particularly targeted for torture and threats by male officials…

Local Protestants have noted that local police officer Gulomov “keeps collecting information on Kuzebayeva from her various friends and acquaintances, and keeps them under constant pressure.” Protestants commented that it would appear that the police “are making attempts to falsify a case against her.”

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