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ICC NOTE: Four individuals of the Seventh Day Adventist church in Uzbekistan were stopped and taken from their taxi where they were transported to the local police station for booking. Their crime? Carrying copies of a religious book in which there was written proof the Religious Affairs Committee approved its distribution. Despite legal proof of the books’ approval, four Christians were taken into custody and summarily fined for their actions. Uzbekistan, like all Central Asian countries restrict faith and belief, especially for religious minorities. Christians in particular are targeted as many Christian communities in the region are not recognized by the governments as approved religions despite sharing the same faith as the Christian denominations that are allowed. 

10/5/2016 Uzbekistan (Forum 18) – Police and National Security Service (NSS) secret police on 2 August arrested four men riding in a taxi in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent. They then confiscated copies of a religious book, “The Great Controversy”, which the Religious Affairs Committee had in writing stated that after “expert analysis” was allowed to be imported and distributed in Uzbekistan.

On 8 August one of the men, Pastor Andrei Ten of the registered Seventh-day Adventist Church, was summoned to a police station and asked to write a statement that he gave out copies of the book. He was only then shown a second “expert analysis” in which the Religious Affairs Committee contradicted itself banning the book. Pastor Ten was on 19 August fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage, the other three men being each fined five times the minimum monthly wage (see below).

Many similar cases take place in Uzbekistan against physical and electronic religious literature held by people of many beliefs, often involving sometimes very large fines and jail sentences. In some cases, rape threats and physical abuse has been used by male officials against female religious believers (see below).

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