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16 April 2011

Tashkent, punishes those who lend or gift Bibles to children

Police intimidation and a stern warning to a Baptist Church that gives money to children. A woman who gifts a bible to a friend fined more than 4 years' salary. 3 Islamic clerics who are studying in Arab countries “dismissed”.

Tashkent (AsiaNews/F18) - Beatings and a strong penalty for the Christian Baptist Galina Shemetova from Tashkent who gave a Bible "for children" to a colleague. Meanwhile, the fear of the Jasmine Revolution sees authorities to harass three Muslim clerics.

In the summer of 2010 Shemetova gave the book to a colleague while they were at the Tashkent subway. For this she was denounced for "proselytism", which is considered a serious offense.

Later April 1, the woman on, went to hospital for treatment, saying she had an accident at work. A witness told Forum 18 agency that "the underground police hit the woman on the head and dragged her by the hair to their car". The local police, contacted by F18, denies any aggression, but recognizes that they stopped Shemetova who began to "call for help for no reason". They claimed that the Christian is a missionary and has violated the law. "

F18 found that there will be no investigations and recalls that the UN Committee against Torture denounces that violence and torture are "normal" in the country.

Also on 1 April, the Court of Tashkent ordered the Shemenova to pay a fine of 2,486,750 som, amounting to 1015 euro, 50 times the average monthly wage, saying she had made a clear attempt to proselytize.

The incident is not isolated. In the central region of Navoi , theBaptist Church Zarafshan, registered on August 15 decided to allocate 400 thousand som (160 euro) to the local children's home, called "Happiness." After that the Church sent its quarterly financial statement to authorities, on March 12 2011 the police raided its premises and the pastor received a written "warning" from the local prosecutor Khudayberdy Norkobilov for breach of an administrative rule, without any further explanation.

The State is particularly attentive to the activities of Muslims, perhaps for fear of the Jasmine Revolution. The authorities in February and March "dismissed" without explanation Najmiddin Hasanov, imam of the Jurabek mosque, Jabborali Nurmatov, also an imam in the capital, and Saidjamol Masayidov, deputy director of the Islamic Institute, all in Tashkent. The three clerics are studying in Arab countries. The state has full control of Islamic institutions and does not want the slightest risk of protests.

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