Uzbekistan: Religious lit under state control

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

uzbekistanTOSHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (Worthy News)-- Sharofat Allamova, a Protestant from the Khorezm Region of Uzbekistan, has been sentenced to one and a half years of corrective labor for the "illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious literature," according to Forum 18 News Service.

Allamova's conviction under Article 244-3 of the Criminal Code follows two separate raids on her home in January. Judge Makhmud Makhmudov -- who also handed down the corrective labor sentence -- ordered all religious materials seized during the raids to be confiscated.

Religious literature in Uzbekistan is under such strict state control that even owning small quantities of it can lead to charges of storage for use in "missionary activity" which, not surprisingly, is also illegal in Uzbekistan.

For her corrective labor, Allamova will be assigned a low-paying job and her salary will be further reduced to pay the state for the duration of her sentence. Typical corrective labor can include street cleaning and working in brickyards; anyone assigned such work cannot refuse it without facing jail.

Throughout her sentence, Allamova will be unable to legally leave Uzbekistan and will only be permitted to travel within it with the written permission of the state. Allamova will also have to register with the Inspectorate every 10 days and every quarter she must document all her travels for the local mahalla, the lowest level of state administration whose duties include restricting freedom of religion.