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Christian Persecution in Uzbekistan
by Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News' Correspondent
TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (Worthy News)-- Uzbekistan continues to persecute Christians exercising their religious rights. Recently a Christian in eastern Uzbekistan was beaten by police, another was threatened with death by an axe while a Baptist congregation was promised prison for failure to co-operate in a pre-trial investigation of their pastor.
Physical violence and torture by local authorities against peoples of all faiths is commonplace in Uzbekistan, but many refuse to speak out for fear of reprisals.
A woman in eastern Uzbekistan was beaten in her home by police while her parents were being interrogated over their religious activity at the local police station
Officers kicked the woman and hit her on the head, giving her a concussion, but local hospitals refused to treat her.
The woman has since recovered, but still experiences headaches; her parents hope that the authorities will eventually allow their daughter to be treated at a hospital.
In Tashkent, police threatened to kill Anvar Rajapov if he continued to challenge an enormous fine for having religious literature in his home discovered during a police raid.
"I have prepared an axe for you, which will be flying after you, observing you and if need be, kill you," Major Zufar Rashidov reportedly told Rajapov.
Police continue to hold Rajapov's passport because "no one has the right in Uzbekistan to challenge court decisions".
Rajapov has written complaints about his treatment to President Islam Karimov, the Supreme Court, and other state agencies.
Tashkent Investigator Aleksandr Ten threatened a Baptist congregation with prison and beatings if they didn't sign statements against their church's pastor, Konstantin Malchikovsky and Anna Portova, the church bookkeeper, whom he is both prosecuting.
Ten attempted to force church members to write statements that Malchikovsky and Portova sold religious books without paying tax in violation of Criminal Code Article 189 Part 2: Violation of the regulations for trade or delivery of services. If convicted, the pair faces up to two years' imprisonment.
The Uzbekistan National Security Service closely monitors all religious activity through a network of both police officers and informants.