Georgia: "No Action" In Wake Of Attack on Pentecostals

Members of the Word of Life Pentecostal Church, human rights activists and some politicians have complained about the failure of the police or prosecutor's office to take any action so far in the wake of last month's attack on a Word of Life service in a cinema in the centre of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The mob raid - the latest in a long series of attacks on minority religious communities dating back to 1999 - was led by Basil Mkalavishvili, a defrocked priest of the Orthodox Church who enjoys de facto immunity from prosecution for his violent raids. (see KNS 26 September 2001) "We have not arrested Mkalavishvili," the duty police officer at the Mtatsminda-Krtsanisi district police told Keston News Service on 11 January. "Why should we?" His boss, district police chief Togo Gogua, confirmed later in the day that his officers had not arrested anyone in the wake of the latest attack. "I'm not the procurator and I'm not the judge. An investigation is underway," Gogua declared. "They must be arrested," the church's pastor insisted to Keston. "It's not a question of religious freedom but of hooliganism. Such hooligan gangs should not be allowed to exist."

New Blasphemy Case Filed Against Pakistani Christian

Police in Pakistan's Punjab province registered another questionable blasphemy case against one of its Christian citizens on April 1, jailing a respected high school principal for slander he allegedly spoke two months ago against Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. Pervaiz Masih, founding director of the Iqbal Memorial High School in Chelay Kay village near Sialkot, was arrested at his home on April 1 during a late-night police raid.