Christians Today

In Uzbekistan Holiday singing and Bible reading officially prohibited

TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN – This month in Uzbekistan, a dozen Bostanlyk policemen raided a gathering of 80 Protestants on holiday together at the Phoenix resort near the capital.

Claiming to check their internal passports, the police — most of whom were in plain clothes — confiscated three Bibles and 100 Christian songbooks while insulting the gathering with abusive language and threatening them with criminal charges unless they wrote statements detailing their guilt.

Police later took their fingerprints.

Charges under six articles of the Code of Administrative Offenses were brought against four members of the group who were leading a discussion of their Protestant faith and the singing of Christian songs.

According to Forum 18, Gennady Chen, Vladimir Zhikhar, Aleksandr Lokshev and Gennady Timoyev have all been charged under Article 184-2: the Illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious materials; Article 194, Part 1: failing to obey the lawful demands of a police officer; Article 201, Part 2: procedural violations while holding religious meetings; Article 202: holding unsanctioned meetings; Article 240: violation of the new Religion Law, Part 1: failing to register the group’s organizational charter, and Article 241: teaching religious beliefs privately and without state permission.

Police told Forum 18 that people must only worship in state registered locales specifically established for religious purposes.

By Joseph DeCaro

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