21 September 2016

TURKMENISTAN: Search, arrest, torture, escape, arrest, prison

Police raided Jehovah's Witness Mansur Masharipov's home in Dashoguz in July 2014, seized religious literature (subsequently destroyed), severely beat him, injected him in a Drug Rehabilitation Centre (from which he escaped) with unknown drugs. He was jailed after June 2016 arrest for one year. [read more...]

20 September 2016

AZERBAIJAN: Police, officials close Sunni home mosques

Police, SSS secret police, State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations and local administration officials forcibly closed a home Sunni mosque in Qobustan near Baku, the latest Sunni Mosque closed. The mosque leader is appealing against a large fine for leading an unregistered community. [read more...]

13 September 2016

RUSSIA: "Extremism" religious freedom survey, September 2016

Russia's "Extremism" Law and associated Criminal and Administrative Codes (with ever-harsher punishments) are used to arrest, imprison or fine individuals exercising freedom of religion and belief, punish communities for meeting, and ban publications on religion which do not encourage violations of others' human rights. [read more...]

7 September 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Mass trial of Muslims in Oskemen

In a secret police initiated case, nine Sunni Muslims are due on trial in Oskemen on 14 September accused of membership of the banned Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary movement. Arrested in early August, Baurzhan Beisembai faces up to six years' imprisonment if convicted. [read more...]

6 September 2016

TAJIKISTAN: Last madrassahs finally closed

Of the 19 madrassahs for 16 to 18 year old Muslims that functioned with state approval before the harsh 2009 Religion Law, all have now been closed. The five remaining madrassahs in Sogd Region – suspended in 2013 – were finally closed, as was the Islamic University's madrassah in Dushanbe. [read more...]

31 August 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Pensioners fined as Parliament awaits new Law

Two Baptists in their late seventies were among seven people in East Kazakhstan Region fined for attending a home religious meeting. A new anti-"Extremism" Law, likely to reach Parliament within days, envisages further censorship of religious literature and controls on foreign pilgrimages. [read more...]

26 August 2016

RUSSIA: Punishments under anti-sharing beliefs changes 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...]