Reports appearing in April told of the harassing, jailing and fining of several Christians in Uzbekistan for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. One of the prisoners of conscience—Council of Churches Baptist Doniyor Akhmedov—was fined more than three years’ official minimum wage after his release from 15 days in jail.
Other prisoners of conscience to be jailed for short periods include a Protestant in Bukhara, who received seven days’ imprisonment for “illegal” religious activity and another Protestant who received 10 days’ jail time for “teaching religion illegally.” Their identities remain anonymous due to fears they might suffer further state reprisals.
Nine more Protestants were fined for “illegally storing” Christian literature and materials in their homes. Their homes were raided earlier by police who confiscated various Christian books and CDs and DVDs.
“Religious minorities face tight scrutiny in Uzbekistan as they are unable to openly practice their beliefs without facing major penalties such as jail terms or heavy fines,” reports Forum 18 News.