Prisoner of conscience "released but not free"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (Worthy News)-- Although recently released from a four-year jail sentence, former prisoner of conscience Dmitry Shestakov is still under the restrictions of Uzbekistan's "administrative supervision".

Shestakov is the Pastor of a government registered Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Andijan who was imprisoned for exercising his right to freedom of religion or belief in 2007. He was released Jan. 21 from Prison No. 29 in Navoi after serving a four-year sentence for allegedly violating Criminal Code article 216 -- illegal establishment of illegal public associations, or religious organizations -- and 244-1, which deals with dissemination of information and materials containing ideas of religious extremism, separatism, and fundamentalism.

Shestakov must be registered with the Andijan Regional and City Police, the local police inspector of his residence and with the City Crime-Prevention and Criminal Investigation Divisions.

Shestakov must report to his local police inspector every month; he is under house curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and must not leave his home town without written police permission. Further, Shestakov can't visit any public place that serves alcohol.

Shestakov's administrative supervision can be extended and the punishments for breaking it can include fines and additional imprisonment for up to four years.

"He was released from prison but is not free," said a local Protestant.