26 August 2016

RUSSIA: Punishments under anti-sharing beliefs law begin

Three individuals – two of them foreign citizens – are the first known victims of Russia's new amendments punishing sharing beliefs, which came into force on 20 July. All were fined. A Russian citizen is due in court on 29 August. An earlier prosecution ended in acquittal. [read more...]

23 August 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: "Attracting children" an offence?

Officials, police and journalists raided two Baptist children's summer camps to check if children were present with parents' consent. Also, a Pastor was fined because a church member's granddaughter attended a children's programme. Officials often insist religious organisations need written permission from both parents. [read more...]

19 August 2016

RUSSIA: Anti-sharing beliefs law first use

Less than four weeks after Russia's legal amendments restricting sharing beliefs came into force, a Judge acquitted Vadim Sibiryev on 15 August in the first known attempted prosecution. Anti-extremism police had charged Hare Krishna devotee Sibiryev for offering religious books on the streets of Cherkessk. [read more...]

18 August 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Will Judge punish praying pensioners?

On 25 August, a Judge in East Kazakhstan Region will decide whether to fine seven members of a Baptist congregation for meeting for worship without state permission. Two of the seven are aged 79, a decade younger than another Baptist fined in 2016. [read more...]

12 August 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Sharing faith a state security issue?

Secret police officers hold "conversations" with and warn individuals suspected of talking to others of their faith, official reports from Almaty Region confirm. Talking about religion without state registration is illegal and punishable. Officials refuse to say why this is a state security issue. [read more...]

9 August 2016

UZBEKISTAN: Raids, prison, fines for home religious meetings

After police raided a religious meeting in a home in Bukhara Region, four Sufi Muslims were imprisoned for four years each for participating in an "illegal" religious group. Eleven more were fined. Protestants have been tortured and fined for "illegal" literature in homes. [read more...]

5 August 2016

AZERBAIJAN: Prisoners tortured, authorities deny torture happened

The trial of 18 Muslims accused of serious violent crimes, which they and human rights defenders deny, began on 3 August. Many encouraged Islam outside state control. They have testified to being tortured, but the authorities have not arrested and tried the officials concerned. [read more...]

3 August 2016

BELARUS: "Alternative service exists, not for me"

Brest Regional Court unconstitutionally rejected an appeal by 21-year-old Jehovah Witness conscientious objector Viktor Kalina against his conviction and large fine for refusing to do military service. The appeal rejection came one week before Belarus' Alternative Service Law came into force on 1 July. [read more...]