12 October 2018

DONBAS: Donetsk: Places of worship seized, sealed

A Baptist Church in Novoazovsk is the latest place of worship known to have been confiscated by the rebel Donetsk People's Republic. Rebels are known to have earlier seized a Mosque, a Baptist Church and Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Halls. Rebel officials claim many were abandoned, but communities deny this. [read more...]

5 October 2018

TAJIKISTAN: Hijab-wearing and beards ban continues

Tajikistan continues beard and hijab-wearing bans, and has forced one couple to divorce. Police set up a roadblock to enforce the bans, which are also been enforced in schools and universities. Officials have refused to give Forum 18 a legal reason for the bans. [read more...]

3 October 2018

AZERBAIJAN: Fines, censorship amid state control of Islam

Agsu court fined three Muslims after state religious affairs officials and secret police raided a home religious meeting. A Baku court rejected theologian Elshad Miri's appeal against a state ban on his book on Islam. The government must explain to the European Court of Human Rights why it jailed Sardar Babayev for leading mosque prayers. [read more...]

28 September 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Senate approves more religious freedom restrictions

Parliament's upper house adopted almost unchanged wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan's Religion Law and 10 other laws in both first and second readings on 27 September. The Amending Law – described by one Muslim as "extremely harsh" – returns to the lower house, the Majilis, before final adoption. [read more...]

25 September 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Senate to adopt "extremely harsh" religion amendments?

Parliament's upper house is due to hold its first and possibly also second reading on 27 September of wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan's Religion Law and other laws. "This draft Law is extremely harsh, harms the rights of believers and should not be adopted in its current form," a Muslim told Forum 18. [read more...]

21 September 2018

TURKMENISTAN: Tenth jailed conscientious objector in 2018

Turkmenistan rejected a call at the UN Human Rights Council UPR to introduce an alternative to compulsory military service. The rejection came weeks after another conscientious objector, 18-year-old Serdar Atayev, was jailed for one year. Ten are known to have been jailed in 2018. [read more...]

20 September 2018

UZBEKISTAN: Jailings "to intimidate all who speak about freedoms"

After police and secret police home raids, at least eight bloggers were jailed "to intimidate all others who want to speak about freedoms", a relative of one told Forum 18. Tashkent blogger Adkham Olimov, jailed for 15 days and fined at a midnight court hearing, had to pay for his own jailing. [read more...]

18 September 2018

AZERBAIJAN: Second 2018 conscientious objector conviction

On 6 September, a court in western Azerbaijan handed a criminal conviction to a second Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector. Vahid Abilov received a one-year suspended prison term and will be under probation for one year. He is planning to appeal. Three more similar cases might follow. [read more...]