Friday, May 05, 2006

Forum 18: Uzbekistan - Raid on Protestant Easter Services

"[O]n 30 April, about fifty police raided a banned Protestant church and detained church members during Easter celebrations. Simultaneously, police raided the church's land and broke the caretaker's arm in a bid to force the church to give its land to the state. Following the raids, Forum 18 has learnt that the Prosecutor's Office intimidated and threatened children, in a bid to force them to sign statements that they would no longer attend Christian services and that they were renouncing their Christian faith. Parents were also pressured to write statements that they would not 'attract their children to Christianity' and warned that failure to comply could see them deprived of their parental rights. A state religious affairs official told Forum 18 that 'the police simply have to stop the church's members from holding illegal religious meetings.'"

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