Uzbekistan, Where Fines, Abuse and the Destruction of Religious Literature Abound

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

by Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

uzbekistanFERGANA, UZBEKISTAN (Worthy News)-- Police who raided a Protestant family's home in Fergana also assaulted the husband as they confiscated a Bible, an Uzbek New Testament, the Proverbs of Solomon and a Koran.

Ten officers raided the home of Muradiljon Umurzakov and Dilorom Mamasidikova, who were entertaining their friend Ravshan Muminov. The raid was led by Fergana City's Police Inspector Dilshod Ataugliyev from the Crime Prevention Unit.

When Umurzakov asked the officers to show their identification documents, the police twisted his arms and threatened to continue hurting him.

The officers also threatened to open a criminal case against the family.

Police are charging the couple and Muminov under Administrative Code Article 184-2 -- illegal production, storage, import and distribution of religious materials -- and Article 240, Part 2 (illegal missionary activity).

The police said that the confiscated books will be sent to the Religious Affairs Committee for "expert analysis".

Courts in the capital Tashkent have also handed-down heavy fines to ten Protestants for unregistered activity; in both cases, the courts ordered that any confiscated Christian literature be destroyed.

Officials of the state Religious Affairs Committee refused to explain why peaceful religious activity continues to be punished and why courts order the destruction of religious literature.

"I am no expert in those matters," said Zulhaydar Sultanov, Head of its International Relations Department.