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Uzbek Christians face raids, confiscation of books comment (0)

March 29, 2012

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan — On Feb. 5, police and National Security Service secret police officers raided an unregistered, mainly ethnic Korean Baptist church’s Sunday worship service near Tashkent. On Feb. 7, the state Religious Affairs Committee ruled that Christian literature confiscated during the raid was allowed only for “internal use” by registered religious organizations. 

On Feb. 13, the church’s pastor, Vyacheslav Kim — a  65-year-old pensioner — was fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage in his absence. The books and musical instruments seized were ordered to be handed to the state. 

Judge Muhammadali Nazarov defended the fine and confiscations, insisting that his decision is “in line with the law.” Officials of the Religious Affairs Committee refused to discuss their ruling that the literature was not allowed to unregistered communities or outside registered communities. After a raid on a private home in Samarkand, Protestant Khursheda Telyayeva was fined 20 times the minimum monthly wage. Her confiscated Christian books were ordered to be handed to Samarkand Regional Muslim Board.

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