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ICC Note: In Uzbekistan, religious minorities continue to face intense government harassment for their faith. Government officials are raiding churches, hindering Christians from meeting with one another, questioning children about their parents’ faith, and trying to force Christians to reject their faith in exchange for dropping false charges. 

03/20/2018 Uzbekistan (Forum 18) – The authorities in Uzbekistan’s south-western Navoi [Navoiy] Region keep raiding and punishing local Baptists “to stop them meeting for worship and peaceful religious activity”, Council of Churches Baptists told Forum 18 on 15 March. Baptists who asked to be anonymous for fear of state reprisals stated that police “watch us, follow us, and threaten us with court cases and fines to stop us attending church” (see below).

Baptists also said that the authorities compel the relatives of ethnic Uzbek Christians to try to stop family members from meeting their co-believers.

In one case, an 8-year-old child was taken from school without his parents’ permission to face hostile questioning by officials (see below)

In Tashkent, after a raid on Baptists a Baptist woman was put on trial and fined without her knowledge, and a memory chip with family photos ordered destroyed. She was illegally denied the possibility to appeal (see below)

And in an attempted TV “show trial” in Urgench, the authorities tried to persuade two Baptists to “repent and ask for forgiveness during the hearing, the judge can lessen the punishment.” When the Baptists came into the courtroom they saw TV cameras present. “We understood that they wanted to make a show trial, but we stood firmly and instead witnessed about our faith”, Stanislav Kim told Forum 18. He was then fined 100 times the minimum monthly salary (see below).

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For interviews with Amy Penn, ICC’s Central Asia Correspondent, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]