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Redadas, registros de literatura y torturas continúan en Uzbekistán

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 Tales redadas y  búsqueda de literatura religiosa continúan. Los testigos de Jehová le dijeron a Forum 18 que entre septiembre de 2016 y julio de 2017 habían sufrido 185 redadas en sus reuniones de adoración y registros de hogares privados. Esto resultó en 155 condenas por ejercer la libertad de religión y creencias, 148 multas (19 de ellas entre 50 y 100 veces el salario mínimo mensual) y siete encarcelamientos de corto plazo. La policía torturó severamente a 15 testigos de Jehová y asaltó sexualmente a mujeres. La tortura y la impunidad de los torturadores continúan, dirigidas contra musulmanes, protestantes, testigos de Jehová y personas de otras religiones. Las mujeres son atacadas y, en otro caso de tortura, la policía le dijo a un testigo de Jehová que las quejas no hacen ninguna diferencia ya que "quedaremos impunes" (ver F18News 12 de octubre de 2017 http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2325) .

 

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      UZBEKISTAN: Criminal prosecution follows Easter worship meeting?
      By Mushfig Bayram, Forum 18
      Police raided and threatened Urgench Baptists with criminal prosecution for meeting at Easter. SSS secret police and ordinary police raided Mubarek Baptists' worship, an illegal court fining two. In Karshi police targeted hearing and speech impaired Baptists. A Samarkand Jehovah's Witness was fined when enquiring about state registration.
      Uzbek police have threatened members of a Baptist Church in Urgench [Urgench] in the north-western Khorezm Region with criminal prosecution. The threats followed raids by officers of the police Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism on successive Sundays in April on the Church's Sunday meetings for worship. The first raid was on the day the Church celebrated Easter.

      On 8 April police disrupted the Baptists' shared meal to celebrate Easter. During the 15 April raid, officers confiscated Christian books and materials, detained and brought some church members to a police station, questioned them, and warned them that a criminal case would be opened against them (see below).

      On 15 April the State Security Service (SSS) secret police and ordinary police raided the Sunday meeting for worship of a Baptist Church in Mubarek in the southern Kashkadarya Region. Police filmed and questioned church members, and illegally confiscated religious literature without a warrant. A court later fined two church members without any proper hearing or due process, including one Baptist who complained about the police's illegal actions (see below).

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      Congregations of the Baptist Council of Churches meet for worship without seeking state permission, as is their right under international human rights law. But Uzbekistan, against its international human rights obligations, bans any collective exercise of the freedom of religion and belief without state permission

      The authorities have also continued to raid and fine communities such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. When a Jehovah's Witness in Samarkand, in the centre of the country, went to their local mahalla (state district administrative committee) to enquire about registering a Jehovah's Witness community, the mahalla called the police. Police then confiscated his mobile phone, and he was subsequently fined twice the minimum monthly salary for having Jehovah's Witness publications on his mobile phone (see below).

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      The authorities have allowed Jehovah's Witnesses to register only one congregation in the country, in Chirchik in Tashkent Region. All other congregations risk raids and fines for meeting for worship without state permission

      Urgench: Easter 8 April celebration raided

      On 8 April, Easter Sunday, Urgench Police's Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism raided the flat of a Baptist, Stanislav Kim, where the local Baptist Church was meeting to celebrate Easter. "At around 11 am Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism Department officers knocked on our door," Kim told Forum 18 on 15 May. "We agreed that only one officer could come in, to see that we are peacefully worshipping."

      The police officer refused to identify himself and "after sitting down in a chair demanded that the worshippers come up to him one by one so he could write down their names". He left and then promised that police would come back in one hour.

      As soon as the Baptists finished the worship and began to eat a meal together in celebration of Easter, "a group of police officers broke into the house, and began to force the participants out of the house onto the street to take down their names." The police refused to give their names to the Baptists and then left.

      The authorities have frequently raided, prosecuted, and fined Baptists in Urgench for exercising their right to freedom of religion and belief – including staging a "show trial" for state TV

      Kim told Forum 18 that Major Khamro Masimov, Chief of Urgench Police's Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism, did not particpate in the 8 April raid but his officers did.

      Asked why police raided the Easter celebration, and why the authorities keep raiding and prosecuting the Baptists, Major Masimov claimed to Forum 18 on 15 May that "we are not doing anything unlawful. Our Religion Law demands that all exercise of freedom of religion and belief must be registered, and so we must carry on controlling all exercise of this freedom."

      Major Masimov has recently refused, against Uzbekistan's international human rights obligations, to arrest or investigate his subordinates who tortured a Jehovah's Witness in October 2017. Hospitals refused for fear of the police to treat Anvar Tajiyev who lost his hearing in one ear and still suffers headaches. Many complaints to President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, national and local Prosecutor's Offices have led to no arrests or prosecutions. Masimov of the police Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism claimed to Forum 18 that "our officers did not violate the law"

      When Forum 18 pointed out that the Baptists are exercising their fundamental human rights, which are also guaranteed by the Constitution, Major Masimov replied: "Please tell this to our Parliament. We do not decide which laws there should be. We are only responsible for making sure that the laws are observed."

      Urgench: 15 April raid and criminal prosecution threat

      Seven officers of Urgench Police Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism, led by Major Masimov and his deputy Captain Mukhammad Rakhimov, once again on 15 April raided Kim's home while Baptists were meeting for Sunday worship. One of the officers filmed everyone present.

      "Officers conducted an unauthorised search, and confiscated a Bible and Children's Bible in Russian, a New Testament in Uzbek, a Bible commentary book, a Baptist song book, 12 copies of ‘Herald of Truth' Baptist magazine, 30 Baptist post-cards, and a personal diary," Kim told Forum 18.

      "Police ignored our demands to show their identity documents and the legally-required warrant for the search", Kim told Forum 18.

      Asked why they did not show their identity documents and the legally-required search warrant to the Baptists, Major Masimov replied that "if we did anything unlawful they can write a complaint to the authorities." He then refused to talk more to Forum 18.

      All seven adult participants in the meeting were taken to Urgench Police Station for questioning. Major Masimov himself questioned Kim. Police demanded that we write statements and sign a police report", Kim told Forum 18.

      "When we told the police that their actions are unlawful, and refused to sign any papers, the officers threatened that they may open a criminal case against us", he said. After two hours of questioning, police released the Baptists.

      Kim told Forum 18 on 21 May that he thinks police may be preparing a case under Criminal Code Article 244-3 ("Illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious literature" If there has been a previous Administrative Code conviction (as there has been in Kim's case) the punishment is a fine of between 100 and 200 times the minimum monthly wage, or up to three years' corrective labour. Kim thinks that it's possible, as has happened in other cases, that the authorities may punish him with a short-term prison sentence (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      "The case is in Urgench Prosecutor's Office, and they are deciding whether to open an administrative or criminal case", Major Masimov told Forum 18 on 15 May. "It is an administrative violation, but because it is a repeated violation the Prosecutor's Office can decide to open a criminal case." He claimed that the Prosecutor's Office would make a decision "in two or three days", but refused to give Forum 18 more details.

      On 22 May Kamol Almatov, Assistant to Urgench Prosecutor Javlan Davletov, refused to answer when asked about the possible prosecution annd asked Forum 18 to call back the following day. On 23 May neither Almatov nor Davletov answered their phones.

      As of 24 May Kim has had no information on whether he may be prosecuted, and if so on what charges.

      Mubarek: Raid, arrest for complaining about police illegality

      On 15 April the Sunday meeting for worship of a Council of Churches Baptist Church in Mubarek in Kashkadarya Region was raided, The raid involved State Security Service (SSS) secret police Major Ruzimurod Narboyev, Mubarek Police Criminal Investigation Department head Senior Lieutenant Khurshid Abdiyev, local mahalla committee Chair Kholmurod Nabiyev, and four ordinary police officers.

      The Church, which refuses to seek state registration as is its right under international human rights law, has often been raided and its members fined
      "As soon as the officials arrived at the Church they began filming the worshippers without asking our permission," church member Vladimir Khanyukov told Forum 18 on 15 May. "They also without showing a search warrant confiscated our Christian literature."

      Church member Vitaly Provodin called the Regional Police in Karshi to complain about the unlawful actions of the police, but very soon after the call the police arrested Provodin and took him for questioning to Mubarek Police Station. There, police tried to pressure him into registering the Church. They also told to after his release bring a copy of his passport and a testimonial from the local mahalla committee to the Police Station.

      On 21 May mahalla Chair Nabiyev and the police contradicted each other to Forum 18 as to who was responsible for the raid, Nabiyev claiming that "I have nothing against Baptists" and that the raid was led by the SSS. He then refused to talk more. But Senior Lieutenant Abdiyev told Forum 18 that "I have a letter from the mahalla Committee informing us of the illegal activity of the Baptists and requesting us to check them."

      Mahalla committees are a key element in the state's restrictions on freedom of religion and belief

      Anonymous Judge, illegal hearing, fines

      Senior Lieutenant Abdiyev on 15 May summoned church members Khanyukov and Provodin to a hearing of Mubarek Administrative Court at a mahalla committee in a neighbouring District.

      "The Judge did not introduce himself and directly began reading us his decision," Khanyukov told Forum 18. There was no kind of hearing or opportunity for the Baptists to defend themselves He fined Khanyukov and Provodin five times the minimum monthly wage. "We have not yet been given a copy of the decision [which is an illegal action of the authorities], but we were charged with illegal religious meeting and having religious literature."

      Unfair trials and flagrant violations of due process are common in Uzbekistan

      Asked why the authorities keep raiding and fining Baptists and others in violation of Uzbekistan's international human rights obligations, Senior Lieutenant Abdiyev replied: "It's your opinion that we violate the laws. It is the Baptists who violate our Religion Law." Asked what will happen if the Baptists continue to exercise their right under international law not to register their Church, Abdiyev replied: "We will give them new fines".

      Karshi: Police raid worship meeting

      On 6 May police in Karshi broke into the home of Viktor Tashpulatov where his Baptist Council of Churches Church was meeting for Sunday worship. Major Firdavs Khamroyev from Karshi Police's Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism led six officers from Kashkadarya Regional Police in the raid. The Church, which refuses to seek state registration as is its right under international human rights law, has often been raided (including by Major Khamroyev) and its members fined

      "Police banged on our doors when we were holding our worship service, and immediately they entered officers began filming the worshippers without asking permission", Tashpulatov told Forum 18 on 21 May. Police wrote down the names of about 50 participants, including children, but despite pressure "none of us wrote statements or signed the police report." As police left they threatened "wait for the court to summon you", but there has not been any summons.

      Asked about the raid on 22 May, Major Khamroyev claimed to Forum 18 that "it's a wrong number".

      Hearing and speech impaired persons targetted

      Officer Jamol Sharapov from the police Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism on 20 May told Tashpulatov to bring two speech and hearing impaired Church mebers to police for questioning. "I told him that it is his duty to do so and not mine", Tashpulatov told Forum 18.

      Tashpulatov suspects that the police want to pressure the two Church members to write statements incriminating themselves and other Church members.

      Officer Sharopov claimed to Forum 18 on 23 May that "I am not involved in that case." When asked why he called Tashpulatov asking him to bring his fellow church members for questioning, he claimed "It's a wrong number" and refused to talk more.

      Raids, fines, punished for enquiring about state registration

      In April and May, the authorities raided Jehovah's Witness worship meetings in homes in Samarkand and Fergana [Farghona], and twice raided a home in Karshi. The authorities also Jehovah's Witnesses homes for religious literature in Urgench and in the Yangiyul District of Tashkent Region. After the Yangiyul search a court fined two members of the local community five times the minimum monthly wage each under Administrative Code Article 184-2 ("llegal production, storage, or import into Uzbekistan, with the intent to distribute or actual distribution, of religious materials by physical persons"). Such fines are common

      When a Jehovah's Witness in Samarkand, in the centre of the country, went to their local mahalla (state district administrative committee) to enquire about registering a Jehovah's Witness community, the mahalla called the police. Mahalla committees are a key element in the state's restrictions on freedom of religion and belief, including via their role in approving registration applications

      When police arrived at the mahalla they immediately confiscated the Jehovah's Witnesses mobile phone, and he was subsequently fined twice the minimum monthly salary for having Jehovah's Witness publications on the phone.

      This is not the only punishment possible for seeking state registration. Jehovah's Witnesses think that the police tortured Anvar Tajiyev in Urgench because their local community had between January and March 2017 unsuccessfully asked for state registration

      The authorities have allowed Jehovah's Witnesses to register only one congregation in the country, in Chirchik in Tashkent Region. All other congregations risk raids and fines for meeting for worship without state permission
      http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2380
    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Urgench Police Officer Ravshan Sobirov who tortured Jehovah's Witness Anvar Tajiyev and issued death threats in October 2017 denied this to Forum 18. Tajiyev lost hearing in one ear and still suffers headaches. His many complaints to the President, national and local Prosecutor's Offices have led to no prosecutions.
      In a test of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's newly-professed intent to ban torture and punish the perpetrators, Jehovah's Witness Anvar Tajiyev has been seeking redress since October 2017 for torture inflicted on him by police in Urgench in Khorezm Region.

      More than six months after the police torture, Tajiyev still suffers headaches and has lost hearing in one ear.

      But his complaints to many state agencies – including to the President – have ended back with Urgench City Prosecutor's Office, which wrote on 3 March: "We found that the Police Officers' actions were not unlawful."

      "The authorities refuse to punish Urgench City Police and Officer Ravshan Sobirov responsible for the torture," Jehovah's Witnesses complained to Forum 18 on 27 April.

      Officer Sobirov denied to Forum 18 that he was involved in Tajiyev's case. "I do not know that person," he claimed (see below).

      Officials of the national, regional and city Prosecutor's Offices, the Presidential Administration, and the state-sponsored National Human Rights Centre all refused to tell Forum 18 why the officer who tortured Tajiyev has not been brought to justice and why he has been given no compensation. Uzbekistan has an international obligation to arrest and prosecute those suspected of torture (see below).

      Urgench Police also threatened the lives of Tajiyev, his family and fellow believers when it questioned him on 10 October 2017 about his religious activity. They then forced him to sign a statement that they had not tortured him (see below).

      Relatives were too afraid to take Tajiyev to a hospital in Urgench. In the capital Tashkent, one state hospital and a private clinic refused to treat him, apparently because police had caused the injuries. Only another state hospital was prepared to issue a diagnosis (see below).

      Jehovah's Witnesses are considering filing an appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, they told Forum 18.

      Human rights defenders remain sceptical about government moves to ban and punish torture, one telling news agency centre1.com "many still keep silent about their torture because the law-enforcement agencies threaten them and their family members, telling them that their complaints will only worsen the situation" (see below).

      Torture as punishment for registration application?

      Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the police tortured Tajiyev "because our local community in Urgench between January and March 2017 had unsuccessfully asked for state registration".

      Back in 2006, after officials rejected the registration application of the Jehovah's Witness community in Kagan, police threatened ten members with death and a court later fined them (see F18News 9 January 2008 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1068).

      Exercising freedom of religion or belief without local state registration is illegal and punishable (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      Unauthorised police raid

      Trouble for Tajiyev began on 3 October 2017, when Urgench City Police officers carried out an "unlawful search" in his flat in Urgench without showing a warrant, Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. When the police raided his home, Tajiyev was away in Tashkent. Present during the raid were Rinat Sultanov, Tajiyev's fellow believer and tenant of the same flat, and Murat Ayliyev, another local Jehovah's Witness.

      The raiding officers confiscated Tajiyev's tablet device and notebook with personal notes on it. Officers forced Sultanov to tell them the password to open the tablet device, Jehovah's Witnesses complained.

      "Police later returned the tablet to Tajiyev, but did not inform him whether or not a case was opened against him," Jehovah's Witnesses added.

      "The General Prosecutor's Office wrote to us that the police terminated the administrative case against Tajiyev since no illegal religious materials were found on his tablet device," Muradova of the National Centre for Human Rights, told Forum 18 on 25 April 2018.

      Officer tortures Tajiyev, threatens his, his family's and fellow believers' lives

      As soon as Tajiyev arrived back in Urgench from Tashkent on 10 October 2017, local Police Officer Senior Lieutenant Mamur Sobirov phoned him at 11.30 am, and summoned him to the Committee of his local mahalla (city district), Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18.

      Mahalla committees, theoretically independent but in practice under state control, are used to maintain controls over anyone trying to exercise freedom of religion and belief in their city district (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      When Tajiyev arrived at the Mahalla Committee at 4.45 pm, four officers were present: Mamur Sobirov; Mukhammad Rakhimov and Shavkat Bekjanov from Urgench Police's Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism; and Officer Ravshan Sobirov.

      "The officer gave his name as Ravshan Sobirov, but is possible that this is not his real name. He is the one who tortured Tajiyev," Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. "We believe he is an undercover secret police officer."

      Officers of the then National Security Service secret police (renamed the State Security Service in March 2018) have often been involved in punishing individuals for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      While questioning him "Sobirov made powerful blows to Tajiyev's head and face during the whole process, which went on for nearly four hours until 10.30 pm," Jehovah's Witnesses complained. Sobirov "humiliated Tajiyev, his wife, and his female fellow-believers with swear words, and also issued threats, saying that we will destroy all of you."

      During their interrogation, officers also named several female Jehovah's Witnesses, describing them to Tajiyev as "immoral women". In Central Asia, the authorities brand female members of religious organisations they do not like as "immoral women".

      The authorities use threats to rape female members of religious communities they do not like to put psychological pressure on the leaders and members of such communities (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      Asked about the case, duty officers at Urgench City Police (who did not give their names) referred Forum 18 on 23 April to Officer Ravshan Sobirov. He denied to Forum 18 that he was involved in Tajiyev's case. "I do not know that person," he claimed to Forum 18 on 23 April. "I did not question him."

      Told that Jehovah's Witnesses complained about him to the authorities numerous times, and asked why he questioned and tortured Tajiyev, Sobirov repeated his previous answer. He did not wish to talk further to Forum 18.

      "Officer Mukhammad Rakhimov along with other officers of our Department carried out their responsibility to investigate the case," Khamra Masimov, Chief of Urgench Police's Department for the Struggle with Extremism and Terrorism, told Forum 18 on 23 April. "But our officers did not violate the law."

      Asked what role Officer Ravshan Sobirov played in the investigation, Masimov refused to answer. "I do not know you, and I cannot discuss the case with you over the phone." He then declined to talk further with Forum 18 and asked it to send questions in writing.

      Rakhimov is the same officer, who in January harassed local Protestant Nargiza Khusainova on the street and tried to pressure her to become an informer for the police (see F18News 6 April 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2367).

      Forced to sign police report denying torture 

      After four hours of interrogation and beating on 10 October 2017, officers "under threats of more severe injuries to his body", forced Tajiyev to sign the police report saying that he had no complaint against the Police, and that officers had not beaten or psychologically pressured him, Jehovah's Witnesses complained to Forum 18. Tajiyev "was afraid that the police officers could cause him physical or mental disabilities".

      State emergency medical centre refuses medical examination

      Tajiyev's relatives were afraid to take him to Urgench City Hospital because of the police. They instead took him to Tashkent the next day, 11 October 2017, Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. They brought him to the Republican (State) Centre of Emergency Medical Services in Tashkent. "When Ayliyev (Tajiyev's co-believer) told the medical workers that the injuries were made by the Police officers of Urgench City, they refused to examine Tajiyev."

      Gulchohra Turayeva, medical worker on duty who answered the phone of the Republican Centre of Emergency Medical Services on 24 April, told Forum 18 that "by the Law we have to examine patients and only then inform the police if need be. We cannot refuse patients, particularly with serious injuries." Asked why then Tajiyev was refused medical examination in the Centre, she referred Forum 18 to the Centre's Administration.

      Asylbek Khudayarov, General Director of the Emergency Centre, claimed to Forum 18 on 25 April that Tajiyev "wanted to be hospitalised, but we can only do diagnosis, which is why we refused services to him."

      When Forum 18 asked why the Centre did not examine Tajiyev and whether the Police involvement in the case was the reason, Khudayarov did not answer. "Please, send your questions in writing," he said and declined to talk further to Forum 18.

      Private clinic also refuses treatment

      Relatives then contacted one of Tashkent's private clinics, Medical Diagnostics Services. But it too refused to examine Tajiyev.

      Lola Kaharova, General Director of Medical Diagnostics Service, told Forum 18 on 24 April: "We as a private clinic do not usually refuse services to patients unless we do not have the exact specialists."

      Asked why Tajiyev was refused diagnosis of his brain, Kaharova responded: "Maybe we did not have the specialists on that particular day." Asked whether this happened because of police involvement in Tajiyev's case and whether she could check their records for 11 October 2017, she told Forum 18 that Tajiyev "must write us a complaint".

      Diagnosed with concussion of brain

      Only after a search for available hospitals, the following day, 12 October 2017, Tashkent City Hospital No. 7 accepted Tajiyev. There he was diagnosed with closed cranium cerebral injury (concussion of the brain), Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18.

      Complaints and official responses

      On 30 October 2017, Jehovah's Witnesses asked Urgench City Prosecutor's Office for a copy of the Prosecutor's approval of the police search of Tajiyev's home. On 10 November 2017, Prosecutor Umurbek Madrakhimov passed on the request to Urgench City Police. However, the Police did not reply.

      On 15 November 2017, Jehovah's Witnesses complained to President Mirziyoyev and the National Centre of Human Rights in Tashkent. The following day they filed a further online complaint through the presidential website.

      On 25 November 2017, Urgench City Prosecutor's Office summoned Tajiyev, subjecting him to a four-hour interrogation. "During the questioning he was warned not to go on writing complaints but was promised that the authorities will punish Officer Sobirov."

      On 28 November 2017, Akmal Saidov, Director of the National Centre for Human Rights, referred the Jehovah's Witness complaint to Khorezm Regional Prosecutor's Office.

      On 13 December 2017, Oybek Shamuratov, Khorezm Region's Deputy Prosecutor, in response to the complaint to President Mirziyoyev, wrote to the Jehovah's Witnesses: "We found no unlawful actions carried out by Officer Mukhammad Rakhimov." Jehovah's Witnesses objected to Forum 18: "We did not complain against Officer Rakhimov but against Officer Sobirov."

      On 16 December 2017, Urgench City Prosecutor's Office merely referred Jehovah's Witnesses to Prosecutor Shamuratov's 13 December response. The letter was signed again by Prosecutor Madrakhimov.

      Seeing the inaction of the Regional authorities, Jehovah's Witnesses refiled their complaint on the presidential website in late December. They complained about the Regional authorities' unwillingness to investigate the torture properly and punish the responsible officials. They also drew the President's attention to the fact that "Tajiev was beaten not by Officer Rakhimov but by Officer Sobirov."

      On 7 January 2018, Deputy Prosecutor of Khorezm Region, Shamuratov again responded that Officer "Rakhimov did not violate the Law". Jehovah's Witnesses pointed out to Forum 18 that again the Regional Prosecutor's Office indicated a "wrong name."

      On 17 January, Jehovah's Witnesses again complained to the National Centre for Human Rights, which it referred to the General Prosecutor's Office. This in turn told the Centre on 29 January that it had referred the complaint to Khorezm Regional Prosecutor's Office.

      On 28 February, Deputy Prosecutor of Khorezm Shamuratov told Jehovah's Witnesses: "We halted the investigation of the complaint, because there are no new circumstances of the case."

      The last response Jehovah's Witnesses received was on 3 March from Urgench City Prosecutor's Office: "We found that the Police Officers' actions were not unlawful."

      Will authorities implement anti-torture Acts?

      Asked why the General Prosecutor's Office will not properly investigate Tajiyev's case in light of the Presidential anti-torture Decree and changes to the Criminal Code, Prosecutor Samir Rakhmanov of the General Prosecutor's Office did not respond. "No new cases of torture took place after the Decree, otherwise we would have investigated and published information on that," he claimed to Forum 18 on 26 April.

      Asked why then despite so many complaints from Jehovah's Witnesses, including those made between December 2017 and March 2018, the authorities will not properly investigate Tajiyev's torture and punish the perpetrators, Rakhmanov referred Forum 18 to Prosecutor Vakhib Sharopov.

      Forum 18 had already talked to Sharopov of the General Prosecutor's Office on 24 April on the torture of Tajiyev. Called again on 26 April, he told Forum 18: "I passed on your information to the appropriate Prosecutors, who are at the moment studying the case to prepare action. We will need at least 10 days for this."

      Asked why the authorities will not register Jehovah's Witness communities across Uzbekistan, why police and other authorities keep pressuring and torturing their members, and why the authorities will not punish officials responsible for Tajiyev's torture, officials at the reception and press service of the Presidential Administration on 26 April referred Forum 18 to Shakhzod Islamov, who oversees religious issues, and Sardor Ibrahimkhojayev, who oversees legislative issues.

      Both Islamov and Ibrahimkhojayev refused to respond to Forum 18's questions on 26 April. Ibrahimkhojayev referred Forum 18 to the Justice Ministry.

      Asked the questions, Shakhrukh Nuraliyev, Press Secretary of the Justice Ministry, referred Forum 18 on 26 April to Akmal Khamdamov of the Ministry section overseeing religious organisations.

      "I don't know why the President's Office referred you to us, because we are not an investigative organ," Khamdamov told Forum 18 on 26 April. Asked why the authorities will not register Jehovah's Witness communities across Uzbekistan, he was quick to answer, "They have registration in Uzbekistan."

      Told that Jehovah's Witnesses are registered only in one town in Tashkent Region, Chirchik, while their other communities across Uzbekistan have been denied registration, and that it is illegal to meet for worship without registration, and asked what they should do, Khamdamov was silent. He then said, "I cannot say anything, I do not know why they referred you to us."

      National Centre for Human Rights "not competent to investigate human rights violations"

      Dilnoza Muradova, Assistant to Akmal Saidov, Chair of the state-sponsored National Centre for Human Rights in Tashkent, told Forum 18 on 24 April that it had sent an enquiry to the General Prosecutor's Office about Tajiyev's torture. However, the General Prosecutor's Office response did "not say anything about any the investigation of the police actions".

      Told that Jehovah's Witnesses twice complained to her Human Rights Centre, and asked what steps it took – if any - to help Tajiyev, Muradova replied: "The Centre is not competent to investigate human rights violations – it's the duty and competence of the state organs, to which we always refer complaints."

      Asked what the role of the Centre is, and how it can help victims whose rights were violated, Muradova responded: "We inform the authorities about the violations, and they inform us on the course of their investigation."

      Asked why the authorities will not begin implementing the new anti-torture acts by punishing the police officers and compensating Tajiyev for damages he suffered, Muradova replied: "He needs to write to us and the authorities about it."

      Told that Tajiyev already wrote numerous complaints to her Centre and other state agencies, Muradova was quick to reply, "We will now prepare another letter asking the General Prosecutor's Office to open a new investigation into the police actions."

      Prosecutor's officials refuse to discuss torture

      Prosecutor Timur Gofurov answered the phone on 23 April of Gulnoza Rakhimova, Chief of the General Prosecutor's Office Public Relations and Legal Information Section in Tashkent. Asked why the General Prosecutor's Office will not properly investigate Tajiyev's case and make Officer Sobirov who tortured Tajiyev and the other police officers responsible, Gofurov claimed to Forum 18 that Khorezm Regional Prosecutor's Office "investigated that case properly and replied to the complaints."

      "If Jehovah's Witnesses are not satisfied, they can still file a new complaint," Gofurov added.

      Urgench City Prosecutor's officials (who did not give their names) refused to discuss the case with Forum 18 between 23 and 24 April and told Forum 18 that Prosecutor Madrakhimov had been "transferred to Tashkent to the General Prosecutor's Office." They also refused to put Forum 18 through to any other officials.

      Asked whether Prosecutor Madrakhimov was indeed transferred to the General Prosecutor's Office, Sharopov of the Prosecutor General, claimed to Forum 18 on 24 April: "I do not know, since there are so many departments and officials in the Office."

      Asked about Tajiyev's case, Sharopov took down the details and promised Forum 18 that "We will do our best to properly investigate the case."

      Khorezm Prosecutor's officials (who did not give their names) between 23 and 24 April refused to discuss the case with Forum 18 or put it through to Prosecutor Shamuratov or other officials.

      Will new ban end "routine" torture?

      At its most recent consideration of Uzbekistan's record, in October and November 2013, the United Nations (UN) Committee Against Torture (CAT/C/UZB/CO/4) expressed its concern "about numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations that torture and ill-treatment are routinely used by law enforcement, investigative and prison officials, or at their instigation or with their consent, often to extract confessions or information to be used in criminal proceedings".

      Uzbekistan told the UN Committee Against Torture in its report due in 2017, submitted on 16 January 2018 (CAT/C/UZB/5), that 29 state officials were convicted in 2015 for committing torture, 21 in 2016 and 8 in the first quarter of 2017. Sentences ranged from a fine to suspended sentences to prison terms. Thirteen state officials were sacked between January 2016 and June 2017 after criminal cases of torture were lodged against them.

      However, the report notes that few complaints against "illegal actions" by police were upheld (only 23 of 438 in 2016 and 5 of 39 in January-March 2017).

      The government's report claims that legislation has been tightened "to strengthen procedures for compensating the victims of crime, including torture".

      On 30 November 2017, President Mirziyoyev signed a Decree on "supplementary measures for reinforcement of guarantees of rights and freedoms of citizens in judicial-investigative activity". This banned using evidence obtained by torture and other inhuman treatment, as well as making inadmissible the use of such evidence by the judiciary or other investigative organs.

      Further amendments came in April 2018. On 4 April, President Mirziyoyev signed into law changes and new provisions in the Criminal Code criminalising torture, including psychological pressure, during investigation by Police and other law-enforcement agencies. The amendments came into force on 5 April on publication in the state-sponsored newspaper "Halq Suzi" (People's Tribune).

      According to the new legal provisions, law-enforcement officers who are aware of torture and take no action will also be made responsible as accomplices. Punishments for torture include imprisonment of between 3 and 10 years.

      However, human rights defenders are not optimistic about the changes. Yelena Urlayeva, a human rights defender from Tashkent, told centre1.com, an independent Uzbek news agency, on 11 April that "there are still many cases of torture by the law-enforcement agencies". The ban on torture initiated by President Mirziyoyev does "not work in reality, because only a few [officials] want to change," she added.

      Tatyana Dovlatova, another local human rights defender, told the agency that "many still keep silent about their torture because the law-enforcement agencies threaten them and their family members, telling them that their complaints will only worsen the situation." (END)
      http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2374
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      El gobernador Ricardo Rosselló Nevares emitió hoy un veto expreso a la medida de la Cámara conocida como el proyecto de libertad religiosa. 
      Reacciona el presidente de la Cámara
      Méndez dijo esta tarde que el gobernador fue inducido a error y por eso fue que vetó el llamado proyecto de Libertad Religiosa. 
      "Respeto el poder constitucional del gobernador, pero creo que lo indujeron a error las personas que le recomendaron el veto. El proyecto buscaba proteger el derecho que ha sido refrendado por legislación federal y las decisiones del Tribunal Supremo en términos de que nadie puede discriminar contra nadie", dijo Méndez en entrevista con El Nuevo Día.
      Méndez mencionó jurisprudencia que protege a "sectas", en referencia a los Testigos de Jehová, que "pueden entrar a un lugar donde el Estado o asociaciones les han prohibido entrar".
      ¿Irán por encima del veto?, se le preguntó.
      "Ese análisis lo vamos hacer y lo de nosotros es sencillamente que la política pública del estado es defender la libertad de las personas, expreearse sin afectar los derechos de los demás", respondió.
      Leer más: https://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/politica/nota/gobernadorvetaelproyectodelibertadreligiosa-2396746/
    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Un comité de las Naciones Unidas pide la liberación inmediata de un testigo de Jehová de 18 años que, según el jurado, está siendo detenido ilegalmente en Tayikistán por su fe.
      El Grupo de Trabajo sobre la Detención Arbitraria de la ONU dice que Daniil Islamov está encarcelado en Tayikistán por objetar conscientemente el servicio militar obligatorio del país. Aunque los Testigos de Jehová pagan impuestos, la fe de Islamov le impide recitar promesas patrióticas, cantar canciones nacionalistas o unirse al ejército.
      El derecho de los testigos de Jehová a adherirse al rechazo de su fe al servicio militar -creen que su lealtad es únicamente para Dios- es reconocido en los Estados Unidos y en otros países occidentales. Pero Tayikistán no tiene ninguna ley sobre los objetores de conciencia.
      Islamov solicitó permiso para un servicio civil alternativo, pero fue denegado, según la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos, que supervisa el Grupo de Trabajo.
      "El Grupo de Trabajo considera que, teniendo en cuenta todas las circunstancias del caso, el recurso adecuado sería liberar inmediatamente al Sr. Islamov y otorgarle un derecho exigible de indemnización y otras reparaciones, de conformidad con el derecho internacional", una resolución aprobado por WGAD en el caso de Islamov dice.
      Islamov, que cumplió 18 años en enero, fue reclutado por la fuerza en el ejército de Tayikistán en abril y fue arrestado inmediatamente por negarse a usar un uniforme militar y prestar juramento de servicio.
      Desde la sede mundial de los testigos de Jehová en Nueva York, el portavoz David A. Semonian dijo que es alentador que el Grupo de Trabajo declarara arbitraria la prisión preventiva de Islamov.
       

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A Muslim hairdresser and one of his regular customers with his family is being intensively investigated by Uzbekistan's Anti-Terrorism Police for sharing a Muslim book electronically. Several Protestants also have been fined – two illegally threatened - for keeping Christian material in their own homes.
      Muslim Hairdresser Abduboki Yunusov and regular customer Gayrat Ziyakhojayev is being investigated by Uzbekistan's Anti-Terrorism Police for sharing a Muslim book electronically. The two Muslims and their families have been illegally searched and intensively questions since April to this month (October) (see below).

      Liliya Sitdikova and her son Vildan Sitdikov, both members of Tashkent's officially registered Seventh-day Adventist Church, have been fined for keeping their own Christian material in their own home (see below).

      In Urgench local Protestant Sharofat Allamova is facing attempts to illegally fine her twice for keeping her own Christian books in her home. Local Protestants think that this may be bacause she present during a raid on a meeting for worship of local Protestants (see below).

      And an Andijan Protestant has also been ordered to pay the same fine for having Christian books in her home twice (see below).

      Approved and then banned Islamic book sparks intensive questioning

      Hairdresser Abduboki Yunusov and regular customer Gayrat Ziyakhojayev is being investigated by Uzbekistan's Anti-Terrorism Police for sharing a Muslim book electronically. On 2 April police in the capital Tashkent's Uchteppa District questioned Yunusov and some of his family, some being fined Muslims who are anonymous for fear of state reprisals told Forum 18.

      This followed an incident in March when one of Yunusov's cousins was stopped late at night on the street and searched. Islamic materials were found on his phone and police then began from April to this month (October) repeatedly interrogating Yunusov, his family, and Ziyakhojayev, who are all Muslims. Police have claimed they will bring prosecutions, but have not specified the charges. This is not unusual in Uzbekistan's "justice system" (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      State-approved and then state-banned book?

      Some years ago Ziyakhojayev bought a book entitled Islam between Two Fires, which had passed state censorship and was published by the still-operating Mavoronnahr publishing house. He had shared the book, which is critical of non-Islamic missionary movements, with Yunusov. In May police found the book on Yunusov's phone and then summoned Ziyakhojayev for questioning in July.

      In July police claimed to Ziyakhojayev that the book was banned and had been sent for "expert analysis" to the Religious Affairs Committee. Alleged "expert analysis" is often used by the authorities as an excuse to confiscate and destroy religious literature (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      Ziyakhojayev was also questioned repeatedly in August and on 12 and 16 October. Senior Lieutenant Dilmurod Akhmedov of Uchteppa's Anti-Terrorism Police questioned Ziyakhojayev. Akhmedov on 16 October stated that police had found the book on Yunusov's phone.

      In January police confiscated a car from a Seventh-day Adventist Pastor because he did not pay illegal fines for giving religious books away. The books were approved by the Religious Affairs Committee, which apparently changed its mind so as to fine the Pastor (see F18News 10 February 2017 http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2255).

      Illegal search

      Uchteppa Anti-Terrorism Police, led by Senior Lieutenant Akhmedov, on 12 October raided Ziyakhojayev's parents' flat in the District, but without a search warrant signed by the District Prosecutor's Office. Such violations of the rule of law are common in Uzbekistan (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314). Police confiscated his father's two computers, and sent them for "expert analysis" to the Religious Affairs Committee.

      Senior Lieutenant Akhmedov and Major Jahongir Gaziyev, the head of Uchteppa Anti-Terrorism Police refused to discuss the case with Forum 18 on 25 October. Both put the phone down and did not answer subsequent calls.

      Tashkent Police and Anti-Terrorism officers (who would not give their names) on 25 October claimed that no-one called Yusupov works for them. 

      As this and many similar "Anti-Terrorism Police" cases illustrate, the regime's definition of "terrorism" includes people exercising their human rights (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      Severe state censorship, harsh punishments

      There is severe state censorship of all religious literature, and the import and production of literature – including the Koran and the Bible - is strictly controlled. This includes material on mobile phones, tablets, personal computers, memory sticks and other electronic devices and media, with compulsory prior censorship by the Religious Affairs Committee. Officials often search mobile phones and other electronic devices in the hunt for religious materials. Punishments can be severe, and from around 2013 the authorities have often jailed for up to five years or fined Muslims (including foreign citizens) found with the Koran and Muslim sermons on their mobile phones (see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314).

      Tashkent fine for keeping own Christian material in own home

      On 2 June Liliya Sitdikova and her son Vildan Sitdikov, both members of Tashkent's officially registered Seventh-day Adventist Church, were fined 2,995,500 Soms or 20 times the minimum monthly under Administrative Code Article 184-2 ("Illegal production, storage, or import into Uzbekistan, with the intent to distribute or actual distribution, of religious materials by physical persons"). Judge Bobyr Inagamov of Mirabad District Criminal Court also ordered the destruction of the notebooks and computers with Christian material confiscated from the family, local Adventists who wished to remain unnamed for fear of state reprisals told Forum 18.

      Numerous court verdicts seen by Forum 18 order that such literature – including Muslim books or Christian Bibles - be destroyed, which is often carried out by burning see Forum 18's Uzbekistan religious freedom survey http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2314). 

      The Adventists appealed, but on 27 September Judge Mumin Astanov of the Supreme Court upheld the fine and destruction.

      Judge Inagamov of Mirabad District Court refused to answer, when asked by Forum 18 on 26 October why Christians and other religious believers cannot keep religious books or materials in their private homes or on their electronic devices. "You need to ask that question to the Supreme Court", he claimed. When Forum 18 repeated the question, he claimed that "I gave my reasoning in the decision." He then refused to talk further to Forum 18.

      Judge Astamov of the Supreme Court also would not answer, when asked by Forum 18 twice on 26 October why Christians and other religious believers cannot keep religious books or materials in their private homes or on their electronic devices. He asked Forum 18 to call back the next morning, but did not answer his phone when repeatedly called again on 27 October.

      Raids, literature searches, torture continues

      Such raids continue and searches for religious literature continue. Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18 that between September 2016 and July 2017 they had experienced 185 raids on their meetings for worship and searches of private homes. These resulted in 155 convictions for exercising freedom of religion and belief, 148 fines (19 of them for between 50 and 100 times the minimum monthly wage), and seven short-term jailings. Police severely tortured 15 Jehovah's Witnesses and sexually assaulted women. Torture and impunity for torturers continues, directed against Muslims, Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses and people of other faiths. Women are targetted for assault, and in another torture case police told a Jehovah's Witness that complaining makes no difference as "we will remain unpunished" (see F18News 12 October 2017 http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2325).

      Urgench illegal fine order as reprisal?

      On 21 August Sharofat Allamova, Protestant from Urgench [Urganch] in the north-western Khorezm Region, received a summons dated 14 August from Urgench Bailiff D. Yuldashev that she must in person pay a May 2012 fine to the Bailiff. Allamova was fined on 18 May 2012 for keeping her own Christian books in her home (see F18 News 6 August 2012 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1729).

      But under the law the maximum time for Bailiffs to make such demands is three years after a fine, local Protestants who asked not to be named for fear of state reprisals told Forum 18. Local Protestants told Forum 18 that Allamova did not pay the fine "because she is only guilty of peacefully exercising her freedom of religion and belief as guaranteed by the Constitution".

      After the May 2012 fine the authorities then brought criminal charges against her, for the same "crime" of keeping her own Christian books in her own home. In April 2013 she was sentenced to 18 months' corrective labour, for the "illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious literature". She was placed in a low-paid state job, her salary being further reduced by having to pay 20 per cent of it to the state during her sentence (see F18News 21 May 2013 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1838).

      Local Protestants think that Bailiffs may have summoned Allamova because she was present during a raid on a meeting for worship of local Protestants. Urgench Police armed with automatic weapons raided the meeting, took all present to the Police Station, and strip searched all the women (see F18News 7 August 2017 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2304).

      Urgench Bailiffs (who refused to give their names) on 26 October refused to discuss their actions with Forum 18. They also claimed that they have no Bailiff called Yuldashev.

      Pastor Ahmadjon Nazarov, who led the Urgench meeting for worship, was put under surveillance and followed to a neighbouring region where another meeting was raided. A Bible was ordered to be destroyed, and one person was tortured. Police replied to complaints about torture: "We do not care, you can complain anywhere" (see F18News 19 October 2017 http://forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2326). On 13 October Judge Zh Sultanova of Khorezm Regional Court upheld fines and short-term jail sentence imposed on five of the Protestants.

      Andijan Protestant ordered to pay same fine twice

      On 14 September 2014 police and the NSS secret police raided a meeting for Sunday worship of state-registered Baptists in Andijan [Andijon]. The police halted the worship meeting, confiscated the Christian books they found, threatened those present (see F18News 1 October 2014 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2003). On 17 October Zamira Kurbangaliyeva was fined 538,175 Soms under Administrative Code Article 184-2 ("Illegal production, storage, or import into Uzbekistan, with the intent to distribute or actual distribution, of religious materials by physical persons"). She paid the fine plus a 5,381 Soms payment fee on 30 March 2015, and has documentation seen by Forum 18 of this payment.

      But on 23 August 2017 Andijan City Court Bailiff Sardor Goipov, in a letter received on 9 September, ordered Kurbangaliyeva to pay the fine again. The letter threatens that if she does not pay the same fine twice that she will also be fined 1,497,750 Soms, or 10 times the minimum monthly salary, local Baptists who wish to remain unnamed for fear of state reprisals told Forum 18. 

      Bailiff Oybek (who would not give his last name) of Andijan's Bailiffs Department on 26 October claimed to Forum 18 that Bailiff Goipov opened the case because he did not have the receipt for the payment. He then claimed that the case was closed after Kurbangaliyeva presented them. He refused to answer when Forum 18 pointed out that the Bailiffs had been given the receipt in March 2015 and asked why she was ordered to pay the same fine again. Other calls to Andijan Bailiffs on 27 October were not answered. (END)
      http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2329
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Ginebra, 25 Sep (Notimex).- El Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos (ACNUDH) denunció hoy que Rusia ha cometido "múltiples y graves" violaciones a las garantían indivudules en la Península de Crimena, desde su anexión en 2014.
      En un informe, el ACNUDH aseguró que la situación de los derechos humanos en Crimea se ha deteriorado considerablemente bajo la ocupación rusa, con "violaciones múltiples y graves" cometidas por agentes estatales rusos.
      "Se documentaron graves violaciones a los derechos humanos, como arrestos y detenciones arbitrarias, desapariciones forzadas, malos tratos y tortura, y al menos una ejecución extrajudicial", señalò el documento.
      La Oficina de Derechos Humanos de la ONU destacó que desde la ocupación de Crimea todos sus residentes se vieron afectados cuando las leyes ucranianas fueron sustituidas por las de la Federación de Rusia. Además de que decenas de miles de personas más se vieron afectadas por la imposición de la ciudadanía rusa.
      "Estas y otras acciones destacadas en el informe han tenido lugar en violación del derecho internacional humanitario y de los derechos humanos", destacó el informe que formula 20 recomendaciones al Gobierno ruso, instándole a que respete sus obligaciones como potencia ocupante.
      Además de que le pide defender los derechos humanos para todos e investigue efectivamente las supuestas torturas, secuestros y asesinatos de miembros de las fuerzas de seguridad y defensa la propia de Crimea.
      "El hecho de no procesar estos actos y garantizar la rendición de cuentas ha negado a las víctimas un remedio adecuado y fortalecido la impunidad, lo que podría fomentar la perpetración de violaciones de los derechos humanos", destacó
      El informe dice que la imposición de la ciudadanía de la Federación de Rusia tuvo un impacto particularmente duro en tres grupos:
      Los que rechazaron formalmente la ciudadanía; funcionarios públicos que tuvieron que renunciar a su ciudadanía ucraniana o perder su empleo; y los residentes de Crimea que no cumplían los criterios legales para la ciudadanía y se convirtieron en extranjeros.
      "Las personas que poseen un permiso de residencia y ninguna ciudadanía de la Federación de Rusia no gozan de igualdad ante la ley y están privadas de derechos importantes", señala el informe del organismo de la ONU con sede en esta capital.
      El problema, según el ACNUDH, va mucho más allá que perder la ciudadanía, ya que no pueden poseer tierras agrícolas, votar y ser elegidos, registrar una comunidad religiosa, solicitar una reunión pública, ocupar puestos en la administración pública o registrar sus vehículos.
      "La cuestión de la ciudadanía ha tenido un impacto importante en la vida de muchos residentes de Crimea", destacó en el documento el Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.
      Como dice el informe, agregó, la imposición de la ciudadanía a los habitantes de un territorio ocupado se puede equiparar a obligarlos a jurar lealtad a un poder que pueden considerar hostil, lo que está prohibido por la Cuarta Convención de Ginebra.
      El informe, publicado en la página en Internet de la oficina de la ONU para los derechos humanos, también destaca el severo impacto de los cambios judiciales y policiales introducidos bajo la ocupación rusa.
      "Las leyes de Ucrania fueron sustituidas por las leyes de la Federación de Rusia, en violación de la obligación bajo el derecho internacional humanitario de respetar la ley existente del territorio ocupado", destacó
      Los más afectados, sin duda, han sido los opositores al referéndum de marzo de 2014 y los críticos como periodistas, blogueros, activistas de la sociedad civil y partidarios del Mejlis, una institución representativa de los tártaros de Crimea, que fue declarada una organización extremista y prohibida en abril de 2016, bajo el pretexto de combatir el extremismo.
      Además, en una serie de casos emblemáticos, a muchos medios de comunicación de Crimea y Ucrania se les ha negado el derecho a operar, se sancionó a personas y las 22 congregaciones de Testigos de Jehová en Crimea han sido efectivamente proscritas.
      El informe cita dos casos documentados por la Oficina de Derechos Humanos de la ONU en 2016, cuando presuntamente obligaron a los partidarios pro ucranianos confesar los delitos relacionados con el terrorismo mediante la tortura con elementos de violencia sexual.
      Entre otros abusos, se señala el uso del internamiento forzado en un hospital psiquiátrico como forma de hostigamiento contra opositores políticos y al menos 10 desapariciones en las que las víctimas siguen desaparecidas.
      https://laguna.multimedios.com/internacional/denuncia-onu-graves-violaciones-los-derechos-humanos-en-crimea
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      SACERDOTES ORTODOXOS VIOLENTOS EN GRECIA SE DEDICAN A ATACAR LOS TESTIGOS DE JEHOVÁ ROMPIENDO SUS EXHIBIDORES CON LITERATURA RELIGIOSA.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Traducido por Google: 
      17 de agosto de 2017 en el pueblo. Nikonovsky (distrito de Ramensky de la región de Moscú) fue atacada una seguidora  de 56 años de la religión de los testigos de Jehová, por lo que fue hospitalizada. El ataque ocurrió alrededor de las 18:00. Tres creyentes estaban en un banquillo conversando, sosteniendo la Biblia en sus manos. En ese momento, un residente local se acercó a ellos desde atrás y gritó "¡Fuera! Ustedes han sido prohibidos!" y golpeó a uno de los creyentes en la cabeza con un frasco de vidrio que estaba en su bolsa. El golpe fue tan fuerte que los residentes de las casas vecinas pensaron que se era un disparo. Continuó gritando insultos religiosos y las amenazas, el atacante esparció el contenido del bolso  de la creyente. Un equipo de médicos de  la ambulancia detuvo el sangrado y entregó  la víctima al hospital, donde fue hospitalizada con una lesión cerebral con contusión. Se presentó una solicitud a la policía.
      https://jw-russia.org/news/17090416-211.html
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      20 Los testigos de Jehová que pasaron un día de campo nadando y asando comida, fueron arrestados después de recibir una denuncia anónima en la cual un denunciante indicaba el lugar donde los hermanos estaban reunidos. La policía llegó rápido y seguro esperando encontrarlos haciendo una reunión o pudiendo encontrar las Biblias prohibidas. Esto demuestra que hay enemigos internos que informan a la policía de cualquier actividad de nuestros hermanos. Después del día, fueron liberados.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Según el artículo en alemán: 
      Berna, Suiza
      Una nueva guía de la ciudad está diseñada para mostrar a los profesores dónde obtener ayuda cuando un niño parece estar radicalizándose.
      En el presente año, la oficina especializada de la ciudad ya se enfrentó con once sospechas. Sobre todo en las conversaciones sobre la radicalización de los jóvenes musulmanes había desaparecido, dice el trabajador social y compañero de trabajo de la radicalización de la oficina, Christopher Studer. Sin embargo, los especialistas ofrecerían consultas para todas las tendencias radicales.
      También aconsejaron a personas que habían entrado en contacto con la comunidad cristiana fundamentalista de los Testigos de Jehová. Parcialmente, las autoridades de protección de niños y adultos Kesb y la policía también participaron después de las conversaciones, dice Studer.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Nuestras hermanas comienzan a ser presionadas por las nuevas leyes religiosas del gobierno. Por ahora, nuestra religión no está prohibida, pero las hermanas deben vestir ropa islámica si quieren salir a la calle, como el velo que se ve en la foto.

       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      BRUSELAS (Sputnik) — La Unión Europea llamó a Rusia a garantizar la libertad de reunión a los Testigos de Jehová prohibidos en el país en abril pasado.
      "Los Testigos de Jehová, como todos los grupos religiosos, deben ejercer libremente su derecho a la libertad de reunión, garantizada por la Constitución de Rusia y las normas internacionales de derechos humanos", declaró la UE en un comunicado.
      El 17 de julio, la Corte Suprema de Rusia confirmó la prohibición de los Testigos de Jehová por ser considerada una organización extremista.
      El 20 de abril, el juez de la Corte Suprema Yuri Ivanenko declaró extremista a la organización principal de los Testigos de Jehová en Rusia y ordenó liquidarla.
      Además, la Corte resolvió confiscar a favor del Estado los bienes de la organización religiosa prohibida.
      De esta manera, la Corte Suprema satisfizo la demanda administrativa presentada por el Ministerio de Justicia de Rusia.
      https://mundo.sputniknews.com/politica/201707181070872741-politica-bruselas-moscu-religion/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Los Testigos de Jehová recurrirán en el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos (TEDH) el fallo del Tribunal Supremo de Rusia que prohíbe sus actividades en la nación euroasiática, según ha informado a Reuters Yaroslav Sivulski, de la Asociación Europea de Testigos de Jehová.
      MOSCÚ, 18 (Reuters/EP)
      "Planeamos recurrir en el TEDH tan pronto como podamos", ha dicho Sivulski en declaraciones telefónicas a la agencia de noticias, explicando que la vía europea ha quedado abierta una vez que "todas las instancias legales dentro de Rusia han sido agotadas".
      El Tribunal Supremo de Rusia ratificó el lunes una sentencia emitida en abril en la que calificó a los Testigos de Jehová de "organización extremista", les prohibió actuar en el país y confiscó todos sus bienes, aceptando así una denuncia del Ministerio de Justicia.
      Antes de que la disputa llegara a los tribunales, el Gobierno ruso incluyó las publicaciones de los Testigos de Jehová en la lista de "literatura extremista", lo cual impide su difusión.
      La vida religiosa en Rusia está dominada por la Iglesia Ortodoxa, que tiene una considerable influencia política y disfruta del apoyo del presidente, Vladimir Putin.
      Los Testigos de Jehová, una organización cristiana originaria de Estados Unidos, cuenta con unos 175.000 seguidores en Rusia.
      http://ecodiario.eleconomista.es/sociedad/noticias/8505773/07/17/Los-Testigos-de-Jehova-combatiran-en-el-Tribunal-Europeo-de-DDHH-el-fallo-que-prohibe-sus-actividades-en-Rusia.html#
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      La Corte Suprema de Rusia ha confirmado este lunes la prohibición de los Testigos de Jehová, en contra de la apelación que había presentado la organización, que en el país es considerada una secta extremista. “La Corte Suprema rusa ha decidido rechazar el recurso de la organización contra su prohibición”, dictaminó la decisión del alto tribunal citada por la agencia pública RIA-Novosti.
      A finales de abril, los Testigos de Jehová habían sido vetados en Rusia por la Corte Suprema, tras una demanda del Ministerio de Justicia que había observado en este movimiento milenarista “signos de actividad extremista”. Esta decisión judicial abrió la vía a la liquidación de 395 comunidades locales de Testigos de Jehová en el territorio ruso, donde la organización asegura contar con unos 175.000 miembros, y la confiscación de sus bienes.
      “Aunque nos esperábamos una decisión negativa, todo esto ha sido muy decepcionante”. Con estas palabras ha reaccionado este lunes el portavoz internacional de los Testigos de Jehová, David A. Semonian, a través de un comunicado enviado a France Presse. “Solo podemos esperar que prevalezca una valoración justa de los hechos y que nuestro derecho de practicar en Rusia sea legalmente restablecido”, ha añadido Semonian. El portavoz del grupo en Rusia, Yaroslav Sivulsky, ha dicho que “la libertad religiosa en Rusia ha terminado”.
      A la Corte Europea
      “Esto no es todavía el final”, ha asegurado por su parte el abogado de los Testigos de Jehová, Viktor Jenkov, citado por la agencia Interfax. “Vamos a apelar esta decisión ante la Corte Europea de los Derechos Humanos”, ha subrayado.
      Los Testigos de Jehová, una organización fundada en 1873 en Estados Unidos por Charles Russell, se declaran cristianos. Pero a los ojos de la poderosa Iglesia ortodoxa rusa se trata de una secta peligrosa, en particular debido a la prohibición de las transfusiones de sangre seguida por sus miembros.
      Rusia ya había ordenado la disolución de una rama de los Testigos de Jehová en 2004. Esta decisión fue considerada “injustificada” por la Corte Europea de Derechos Humanos, que condenó al país a pagar 70.000 euros en concepto de daños e intereses en 2010 en relación con este caso. Durante el régimen de Stalin, fueron prohibidos y miles de sus miembros, deportados a Siberia.
      https://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2017/07/17/actualidad/1500320825_469690.html
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Uzbek authorities and the religious organization «Jehovah’s Witnesses» (the activity of its main centre is recognised as extremist and banned in Russia) are engaged in a constructive dialogue about its activities in the Republic, told RIA Novosti on Thursday, the Committee on religious Affairs under the government of Uzbekistan.
      In April, the US Commission on international religious freedom has identified 16 countries, including Uzbekistan, in a number of countries-violators of religious freedoms for the use of the law against extremism for restricting the activities of the «Jehovah’s Witnesses».
      The Committee on religious Affairs of Uzbekistan said that the Deputy Chairman of the Committee of Utkir Hasanbaev met with representatives of the governing Board of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in the United States Kenneth Flodine and the European Association of organization Lorenzo Trapanese. «Flodin thanked for reception and conveyed the information and told about the purpose of his visit, which was to discuss the activities of the religious organization «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in the Republic. They also expressed satisfaction from the talks with the leadership of the Committee,» — said the representative office.
      According to him, during the meeting the Uzbek side noted that legislation of Uzbekistan in compliance with all the norms of international covenants and agreements on human rights concerning freedom of conscience. «Following the talks, the sides agreed to continue relevant consultations on the discussed issues. The meeting was held in constructive and friendly atmosphere,» added the Committee.
      Uzbekistan’s law enforcement bodies have repeatedly detained by representatives of the «Jehovah’s Witnesses» for illegal involvement in the ranks of the locals and the secret meetings in different regions of the country. «Jehovah’s witnesses» was just one city of Chirchik near Tashkent. By law, they have the right to hold meetings only in places besides conducting religious propaganda is prohibited. Under Uzbek law, the detainees are brought to administrative responsibility and fined up to 100 times the minimum wage (about 4.5 thousand dollars).
      In Uzbekistan registered more than 2,2 thousand religious organizations, of which more than 90% are Muslim. However, in carrying out activities 157 Christian organizations, eight Jewish communities, six Baha’i communities, one hare Krishna society and one Buddhist temple.
      «Jehovah’s witnesses» is an international religious organization with headquarters in Brooklyn (new York). As reported on the website of Jehovah’s witnesses, «Witnesses» exist in Russia more than 100 years. Since 2004, the courts were closed a number of communities and local offices, «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in the regions — the Belgorod, Samara, Rostov and Orel oblasts and other constituent entities of the Russian Federation. Russia’s Supreme court on 20 April as extremist activity «administrative center of Jehovah’s witnesses in Russia» — the head of the organization, managing the branches of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in Russia.
      http://chelorg.com/2017/06/29/uzbekistan-and-jehovahs-witnesses-have-a-dialogue-about-the-activities-of-the-organization/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      En todo el mundo, los miembros de la organización religiosa Testigos de Jehová son conocidos como personas que pagan sus impuestos y abogan por una vida llena de valores. Se les puede ver en paradas de autobuses o en el centro de la ciudad con un carrito entregando biblias y tratados a los interesados, las mujeres lucen ropa modesta y limpia, los hombres con corbata y trajes pulcros.
      Algunos han cuestionado su negación a las trasfusiones de sangre, sin embargo, esta organización cuenta con un banco de datos de todo el mundo de los mejores médicos especialistas en cirugías sin uso de la sangre, desde luego usando sustitutos sanguíneos. En pleno siglo XXI, hoy los TJ de Rusia no la están pasando bien. Resulta que la decisión que tomó el Tribunal Supremo de la Federación de Rusia el 20 de abril de 2017 ha tenido graves consecuencias para los Testigos de Jehová de todo el país.
      Las autoridades han violado los derechos fundamentales de los testigos y ven la práctica de su religión como ilegal. Además, algunos ciudadanos rusos creen que esta decisión les da licencia para discriminarlos y hasta para cometer delitos de odio contra ellos. En la página www.jw.org, aparece una fotografía de una casa incendiada de Testigo de Jehová, en Lutsino (región de Moscú).
      Sólo esperemos que las autoridades rusas tomen en consideración estos hechos y puedan revocar una ley violatoria a los derechos humanos de personan pacíficas.
      http://libertadbajopalabra.com/2017/06/23/la-decision-del-tribunal-supremo-ruso-ha-tenido-graves-consecuencias-los-testigos-jehova/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Agentes de la Policía Nacional han detenido en La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz) a una mujer como presunta autora de un delito contra la libertad religiosa después de interrumpir la celebración religiosa que se estaba desarrollando en un centro de los Testigos de Jehová.
      Según ha explicado la Policía Nacional en una nota, los hechos se produjeron el pasado día 2 cuando la Sala Operativa del 091 recibió una llamada a las 20,00 horas en las que un ciudadano informaba de que en un Salón del Reino de los Testigos de Jehová se encontraba una persona que estaba impidiendo el normal desarrollo del acto religioso que ese momento se estaba celebrando. Una vez en el lugar, los agentes policiales observaron la presencia de una mujer, de nacionalidad británica y 47 años de edad, que se encontraba disfrazada de anciana portando una pancarta de contenido religioso. La mujer, que gritaba proclamas religiosas, fue invitada por los policías con el fin de que depusiera su actitud y abandonara el lugar. Finalmente, al negarse a salir voluntariamente, ofreció una resistencia pasiva para evitar ser desalojada del centro. Cuando los agentes lograron que depusiera su actitud, una vez fuera del recinto, fue informada de los motivos de su detención como presunta autora de un delito contra la libertad religiosa. 

      Ver más en: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/3032298/0/detenida-mujer-linea-tras-interrumpir-celebracion-religiosa-testigos-jehova/#xtor=AD-15&xts=467263
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Al comparar el trato que un gobierno autoritario como el ruso, da a los testigos de Jehová a los que expulsan por su religión, no se puede menos que ponderar el clima de libertad religiosa que impera en México y que además de valorarse, debe luchar por conservarse.
      Así se expresa el anciano de congregación de la iglesia Testigos de Jehová, Pablo Cruz Paz, quien informa cómo han sido perseguidos en aquel país remoto, los que profesan esa fe.
      No es la primera andanada en contra de éstos, ya antes, algunos “hermanos” sufrieron antes de destierro en Siberia hasta por 10 años.
      Ahora, no sólo se les tienen asegurados sus bienes, sino que se les prohíbe discutir la Biblia, dar testimonio a otros o sea propagar su fe so pena de cárcel.
      Esa arbitraria acción fue llevada a la corte internacional de los Derechos Humanos además que millones de Testigos de Jehová, de todo el mundo, han enviado cartas al presidente Putin y a 4 ministros relacionados con la Justicia en el Kremlin, para que cesen en esa actitud represiva contra los que no es no tienen más delito que ser fieles a su fe, creer en Dios, seguir sus normas.
      Pablo Cruz Paz, es ingeniero industrial mecánico egresado del Instituto Tecnológico de Durango en donde tiene además 27 años como catedrático.
      Es un personaje destacado dentro de su iglesia la que tiene características que en Rusia no fueron toleradas.
      Tienen credencial de elector pero no votan.
      Se ponen de pie ante el Himno Nacional pero no saludan la bandera.
      Y es que según su convicción bíblica, Dios pone como primero en sus mandamientos no adorar ídolos.
      Y la bandera es un ídolo y el himno un símbolo.
      De ahí que nunca podrían comulgar con la postura del catolicismo con tantos y tantos santos.
      Para ellos, Cristo no es un Dios como lo declarara Constantino en el catolicismo, sino el hijo de Dios.
      Esto, hijo de Dios e hijo putativo de José.
      Tienen algunas normas que podría resultar no aceptadas en lo general. No aceptan las transfusiones, y si alguien puede salvar su vida con esta medida, no la salva. Y la resignación, o aceptación es una regla. Todo está en la mano de Dios.
      Se basan en sus acciones en dos biblias que ellos aceptan: la de Jerusalén y la de Reina Valera.
      Es el libro sacro, el que fue inspirado por Dios a los evangelistas y entre estos libros, cuando menos 40 autores han posado sobre el Libro delos libros.
      El infierno no existe para ellos.
      Su muerte tiene conceptos totalmente distintos al catolicismo.
      Quien muere es polvo y sólo los buenos –y esto le tocará juzgar a Dios en su momento- tienen derecho a la resurrección.
      Se pregunta qué es para los rusos el término extremista, ya que fue la causa por la desataron su expulsión, pendiente aún por acciones emprendidas para que no se consuma, pero que ya ahora tienen la prohibición de reunirse pasa discutir la biblia y predicar, a dar testimonio.
      Son testigos de Jehová precisamente porque el Dios Jehová les dijo
      Id a dar testimonio de mi doctrina. Id a llevar la buena  nueva a la humanidad”.
      La iglesia se sostiene con donaciones de hermanos que disponen de recursos y los aportan con gusto en aras de su fe y para mantener esta congregación en la que en el Estado de Durango militan alrededor de 7 mil hermanos.
      En el mundo –reitera- hay 7 millones aproximadamente de testigos de Jehová, en México hay unos 400 mil y en el mundo, el país que más adepto tiene es Estados Unidos con un millón de hermanos. Si bien, aceptan –o mejor dicho, respetan-  el homosexualismo su postura en torno a los matrimonios igualitarios es recalcitrante. Están en contra y lo fundan en que Dios creó el matrimonio entre parejas mixtas.
      Cualquier otra pretensión es ir contra su precepto divino.
      Se jacta de los hermanos de su religión , son ciudadanos respetuosos de la ley, trabajadores, honestos, son ejemplares y esto sí les reconoce en México y en otros países, salvo en Rusia en donde el decreto presidencial de paz no precisamente a los testigos de Jehová que y practicarán su fe como lo hicieron los cristianos durante las catacumbas, pero daña la imagen  de aquel país  en el mundo, que se muestre intolerante no obstante su postulado socialista que la religión sea el opio de ellos.
      Hace votos en la feligresía porque el gobierno de Putin reflexione, que se humanice, permita a los correligionarios del entrevistado ser fieles a su doctrina, a su creencia que –insiste- la sostendrán sobre cualquier amenaza y sobre cualquier castigo, como lo hicieron ya los que deportaron a Siberia.
      https://www.elsoldedurango.com.mx/local/impera-en-mexico-clima-de-libertad-religiosa
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      MOSCÚ, Rusia, 2 de mayo de 2017.- Angela Merkel intercedió por los derechos de los homosexuales y de los Testigos de Jehová en Rusia este martes en su reunión con Vladímir Putin en Sochi, en la costa del mar Negro. En su primer viaje a Rusia desde hace dos años, la canciller alemana no logró un acercamiento de posiciones con el presidente ruso sobre los territorios secesionistas del Este de Ucrania. De la solución de este conflicto, cada vez más arraigado, depende el levantamiento del grueso de las sanciones impuestas a Moscú tras la anexión de Crimea y el apoyo a los secesionistas prorrusos en Ucrania.
       
      “Recibimos informaciones muy negativas sobre lo que sucede con los homosexuales en Chechenia y le pedí a Putin que ejerza su influencia para asegurar los derechos de las minorías y de los testigos de Jehová”, dijo Merkel, en la rueda de prensa conjunta con el presidente ruso. A fines de abril, los Testigos de Jehová fueron prohibidos definitivamente por el Tribunal Supremo ruso y el periódico Nóvaia Gazeta publicó los testimonios de una amplia persecución a las minorías sexuales por las autoridades de la república de Chechenia, en el norte del Cáucaso ruso. La alusión de Merkel no encontró apoyo público en el líder del Kremlin, quien se pronunció con vehemencia contra de los intentos de otros países para influir en la vida política rusa “directamente y a través de las organizaciones no gubernamentales”.

      Angela Merkel y Vladímir Putin tras su encuentro en Sochi este martes. (EFE)
      Putin responsabilizó a las autoridades en Kiev por realizar una política que, según él, provoca la secesión del Este de Ucrania, al privar a las "repúblicas no reconocidas" (fragmentos territoriales de las provincias de Donetsk y Lugansk que se han autodenominado Repúblicas Populares) de la posibilidad de comerciar con sus productos, abastecer a su industria de combustible y materia prima, así como mantener el sistema financiero y la moneda nacional ucrania, la grivna.
       
      Los acontecimientos en Ucrania son “el resultado de un golpe de Estado”, dijo Putin, arremetiendo contra el Gobierno de aquel país. Merkel discrepó y afirmó que los dirigentes ucranios llegaron al poder "de forma democrática". Ambos políticos estuvieron al menos de acuerdo en que para resolver el problema en el Este de Ucrania deben mantenerse los acuerdos de Minsk (cauce de negociación bajo la égida de la OSCE) y el denominado formato de Normandía (Rusia, Ucrania, Francia y Alemania como participantes del proceso de Minsk). “Quisiéramos poder eliminar las sanciones”, dijo Merkel, quien recordó, no obstante, que para ello es necesario cumplir los acuerdos de Minsk.
       
      Sucede, sin embargo, que los puntos de vista difieren sobre el orden de los pasos a dar. Merkel defendió la visión de Kiev, según la cual primero es necesario el “acceso a la frontera” (controlada ahora por los secesionistas y los rusos, pero no por los guardafronteras leales a Kiev) y después “elecciones”. Desde el punto de vista ruso, la apertura de la frontera es el paso final del proceso, después de que se haya consolidado el “estatus especial” de las autodenominadas repúblicas y se hayan realizado elecciones sobre esta base. Merkel constató su “insatisfacción” por el fortalecimiento de las tendencias secesionistas y Putin instó al diálogo directo entre las autoridades ucranias y los líderes secesionistas, como elemento básico para avanzar en Minsk.
       
      Los insurgentes prorrusos de Ucrania superan el bloqueo impuesto por Kiev gracias a sus vinculaciones con Moscú, que ha reconocido sus pasaportes locales y les ayuda a sobrevivir manteniendo su industria y su comercio. Rusia ha rechazado los intentos de internacionalizar el conflicto mediante el emplazamiento de un contingente de pacificadores, ya sean de la ONU (que dispone de estos contingentes), ya sean de la OSCE (que debería crearlos para la ocasión). El 23 de abril se produjo en la zona separatista la primera baja de un miembro de la misión observadora de la OSCE, víctima de la explosión de una mina en las cercanías de Lugansk.
       
      Aunque la otrora prometedora colaboración entre la UE y Rusia se ha deteriorado y complicado desde 2014, en los últimos tiempos los políticos europeos han incrementado sus intentos de desbloquear la situación. En abril, por primera vez desde 2012, vino a Moscú la jefa de la política exterior de la UE, Federica Moguerini. Las “conversaciones políticas” de Merkel y Putin en Sochi se dedicaron también a preparar la cumbre del G20 en Hamburgo, y además de los principales “desafíos de la política internacional actual".
       
      Putin y Merkel estuvieron de acuerdo en la necesidad de reforzar la colaboración económica. El líder ruso manifestó que el comercio entre Rusia y Alemania se ha incrementado en un 43% en los primeros dos meses de este año (tras descender un 75% de 2014 a 2016) y que Alemania es el segundo socio comercial de Rusia después de China y el primer inversor en Rusia con un total de 16.000 millones de dólares. Rusia está especialmente interesada en impulsar el gasoducto conocido como North Stream 2, un nuevo proyecto de Gazprom (el monopolista de la exportación del gas ruso) para esquivar a Ucrania como país de tránsito en las exportaciones a Europa. Gazprom abastece al 35% del mercado alemán de gas y el North Stream 2 añadirá un volumen de combustible suplementario al suministro de gas a Europa por el North Stream 1, el gasoducto ya inaugurado en 2011 que une las costas de Rusia y Alemania por el fondo del Báltico. A la construcción del gasoducto se oponen Polonia y los países del Báltico además de Ucrania. (El País)
      http://www.informaciondelonuevo.com/2017/05/gays-testigos-de-jehova-ucrania-y-siria.html
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    • If you think they use it for their own purposes then why do you donate?  That is not logical. It depends on what you define as own purposes, private purposes, public purposes, necessities, etc.  I think you really should be more thankful to be associated with the organization and what it does for us.
    • My donations are always by check, and written thereon is "for local needs". It's like paying taxes, some of which are used to make hydrogen bombs, and ICBMs. Not my problem. Jesus and the Apostles needed NONE of those things you mentioned, Arauna. If you are NOT inspired of God, as the GB admits they are not ( February 2017 Watchtower), you do need all of those things you mentioned. They are actually essential, as I would freely admit. .... and HEY!, I am just guessing about all of this ... as is everyone else. And Arauna .... did you get NOTHING out of the "Follow Jesus" Assemblies? Jesus set the example . We are either following that example, or ..... WE ARE NOT. The fact of the matter is that the GB DOES use the billions for their own purposes. but, I am, as you stated, "no one to criticize" ... as I do not follow Jesus' example either. If I had that kind of money, I would buy a Chinook double rotor helicopter, instead of Rolex watches, and cartoons of Caleb and Sophia, etc. uh ... for Witnessing on beautiful Pacific Islands, of course ....    
    • Just one question for you:  when you go to meeting or field service you get to use many videos that were made to be easily accessible for all ages and peoples.  Do you have any clue what equipment costs?   Many poor congregations in Africa receive projectors from the organization because they cannot afford it. They do still print bibles and watchtowers etc. Do you think they must remain in the Jurassic age when it comes to using technology or will it be ok by you if they venture to use the newest tech to support the brothers? You have a budget to fulfill your responsibilities at home.....dont you?  Why not broaden out and see that they also need money to provide services in almost 1000 languages?   I think we need a little more gratitude and less criticism...  ALL you see is "billions" which you try to imply are used for their own purposes....  They are always in need of funds to make it stretch further..... because we do get all our spiritual needs fulfilled without cost.  You need not give any donation if you feel they waste it.  You can use all amenities without giving a dime!   
    • I strongly suspect that Jehovah's Holy Spirit is given in direct proportion to the amount of Spirit you actually need.... considering that Jesus Christ and the Apostles had NO Real Estate whatsoever, as part of their Organization, and only enough money for the days food, and to the best of my knowledge, just the clothes on their backs, they needed a lot ... and they received a lot of Holy Spirit. The Governing Body has billions of dollars in Real Estate, all over the world, and controls billions of dollars worth of money, to spend as they alone see fit. ... and dat's de fact, Jack. SOOooooo... they are on their own. ..... as are the great majority of us. I have SEEN Jehovah's Spirit build up and sustain several of the Anointed ones, who had no strength of resources of their own, and I suspect when it is needed ... actually NEEDED .. the rest of us "ground pounders" get it as well. That is just my guess of how it works ... no more. ...and I suspect it is INVERSELY proportional to how much you have naturally, WITHOUT Jehovah's intervention.       the formula for that is 1/x. There is probably a button on your pocket calculator for that.
    • Answer: Hatred borne of jealousy ... .... because the people  covering the Earth, outside of Adam and Eves' family, were NOT directly created beings of Jehovah, and did NOT have an opportunity to live forever ... ...and they KNEW that to be the case. That is why Cain was afraid that wherever he went in his enforced exile to wander the Earth, those evolved  humans would kill him. I do not "have Polaroids", but that idea solves a LOT of problems, including millions of tons of hard fossil evidence, all over the Earth, that only the willfully stupid would say means nothing ... and it solves the problem of who Cain married.
    • I am not so sure that Colossians speaking about coincidence.  I never thought this way, but questions comes after reading this Colossians verses. What sort of "created lordships or governments or authorities" already existed in the heavens and on earth, especially in time period before, in the moment and after Adam and Eve were created? Have some idea?  New born human society was made of two. I see, in Genesis, how Adam had sort of "power" over animals. Eve had free will and autonomy, just like Adam. Only after Cain's crime we see how he had big fear over his life because there was possibility, that some people (who they are, where they lived, what structure they created??) will kill him because of what  he has done.  I see here some issues. God didn't punished Cain (God is Lord, Government and Authority). Adam didn't punished Cain (Adam was his father, but he didn't show he had any power over his son). Some unknown people, living who knows where have some thoughts about killing Cain, because he murdered Abel. Why would they be interested in this Adam's family "business"? And why they were interested in "punishing" Cain?  What sort of structure, legislative (lordships or governments or authorities) existed inside this outside group, tribe, society, that show us how they had something what Adam and Eve family, tribe hadn't ?
    • My above comment was an illustration.  If you find it a joke you have not thought it through. It illustrates the need for "barriers" to drive on a road safely and also to drive through life. To not tread on each others toes we need barriers which are not crossed. When they are crossed society does not function properly. There are people here who hate JWs..... so do not take them seriously.
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