Thursday, September 21, 2006

VOM: Uzbekistan

"(VOM Sources)

During the past month, The Voice of the Martyrs has stepped in to help Christians in Uzbekistan who have suffered arrests, imprisonment, torture and deportation at the hands of police. VOM recently received information from inside Uzbekistan that two leaders from Bethany Church were deported. On September 5th, Pastor Sergey Khripunov and his family were taken under police escort to the airport in Tashkent, where they will be flown to Moscow, Russia, to live. They were stripped of their Uzbek citizenship and deported for practicing their Christian faith. Ivan Bychkov, another pastor of Bethany Church, and his family were expelled for the same reason on August 11th. They are now living under very poor conditions in Moscow. VOM contacts also report that 27 Christians were arrested on August 28th, in the city of Termez in Southern Uzbekistan, for their involvement in illegal religious activities. Six of the believers were severely beaten by police and then held up to six days in jail until the marks left from the torture disappeared from their bodies. At the time of his release, the eye of Khusan Pirimov was still red from the beatings. The names of the other five who suffered harsh abuse are, Azamat Radjapov, Abdusattor Kurbanov, Laziz Umarov, Yesimdjohn Mamadjanov and Yurij Stefanko (a Ukrainian citizen from Kiev).

Pray the Lord will quickly heal the bodies, minds and spirits of those who were beaten so severely. Pray the refugees will be encouraged and strengthened by the help they receive from their brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray God will move in power to protect Christians in Uzbekistan from any more abuse from the authorities. "

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