Monday, July 10, 2006

Forum 18: Uzbekistan

"3 July 2006

In Muinak in Karakalpakstan region - where all Protestant activity is banned - local Protestant Lepes Umarov faces up to three years' imprisonment on criminal charges for 'breaking the law on religious organisations'. The duty officer at the police station told Forum 18 News Service that Umarov was released by the police after several hours' detention in late June after signing 'an undertaking not to leave the country'. Forum 18 has also learnt that Pentecostal pastor Dmitry Shestakov from Andijan has fled Uzbekistan to escape criminal charges also lodged in June in retaliation for his church work. In Kuvasai in Fergana region, the secret police have questioned the 11-year-old son of the Vitkovsky couple in whose home a Baptist church meets. The church's services have repeatedly been raided in recent months and a judge threatened Viktor Vitkovsky with imprisonment on 27 June. He and his wife were due in court on 3 July."

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