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Defence Ministry reconsiders Jehovah’s Witnesses' military exemption


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Men are granted waivers from conscription if they can show they are active members of the denomination. All other men must carry out either military or non-military service.

The Finnish Defence Ministry has set up a panel to reconsider the exemption from conscription granted to members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The non-mainstream Christian denomination urges its members not to participate in military service, even in unarmed roles.

The ministry said on Friday that it has established a working group to consider revising the legislation that waives Jehovah’s Witnesses’ obligation to perform military service.

All Finnish men aged 18 to 60 must carry out either military or non-military service. Under current law, a man can be granted a deferment of service for three years at a time as long as he can certify that he is an active member of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation.

"Problematic" from equality standpoint

The Defence Ministry says that previous studies of the issue have found the current practice to be problematic, particularly from the standpoint of equality.

The legislation on Jehovah’s Witnesses’ conscription was originally passed as a special act before the present constitution came into force.

The committee is to complete its work by late June.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Last April, a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout the country, arguing the religious group to be extremist.
      On Friday, Murmansk regional authorities’ newspaper Murmanski Vestnik reports about raids made by FSB and the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardia) in Polyarny on the Kola Peninsula.
      Two local residents were detained under suspicions of being members of the administrative centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, organizing teaching and meetings where reading of banned religious literature took place. Searches were carried out at six addresses in Polyarny.    
      The town is home to a naval yard and several of the diesel-powered submarines and other warships of the Northern Fleet have Polyarny as homeport.
      The extremist law banning Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia provides for a maximum sentences of 6 to 10 years in jail.
      Meanwhile, a wave of practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses are fleeing Russia. More than a thousand people are now seeking asylum in several European countries, including Finland, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported earlier this winter.
      «It all started last summer, and that’s when the first Witnesses sought asylum in Finland, spokesperson Veikko Leininen with the organization’s Finnish branch told the newspaper.
      «Many dozens at least are still to come,» he said.
      Press adviser Therese Bergwitz-Larsen with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can’t go into details about particular reasons for asylum seekers coming to Norway.
      «Unfortunately, we can’t say anything in general on the background for reasons to apply for asylum, since the number [from Russia] is so small.»
      Statistics from UDI show that 15 persons came from Russia the first three months this year. In 2017, 58 Russian asylum seekers came to Norway.
      In Russia, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses are estimated to about 175,000. That be, before the organization was declared extremist. Viewed with skepticism for denying military service, voting and refusal to take blood, the members are seen as both a threat to themselves, their children and public safety.
      Also during Soviet times, the Witnesses were persecuted.   
      Human Right Watch recently called on Russian authorities to drop charges against Danish citizen Dennis Christensen adherent for practicing his faith. Christensen has been in pretrial custody for 11 months in the town of Orel. Human Right Watch argues that Russia is a member of Council of Europe and  a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefor is obligated to protect the rights to freedom of religion and association.

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    • By The Librarian
      One of them was a 23 year old sister at her witnessing cart, she was stabbed in the throat and died very soon thereafter :
       
      Read more:
       
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      FSB starts detaining Jehovah’s Witnesses on Kola, dozens flee to Finland
      Criminal cases are initiated after FSB and Rosgvardia raided six addresses in the closed navy town of Polyarny.
      ByHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      April 20, 2018
      Last April, a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout the country, arguing the religious group to be extremist.
      On Friday, Murmansk regional authorities’ newspaper Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. reports about raids made by FSB and the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardia) in Polyarny on the Kola Peninsula.
       
      Two local residents were detained under suspicions of being members of the administrative centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, organizing teaching and meetings where reading of banned religious literature took place. Searches were carried out at six addresses in Polyarny.  
       
      The town is home to a naval yard and several of the diesel-powered submarines and other warships of the Northern Fleet have Polyarny as homeport.
       
      The extremist law banning Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia provides for a maximum sentences of 6 to 10 years in jail.
      Meanwhile, a wave of practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses are fleeing Russia. More than a thousand people are now seeking asylum in several European countries, including Finland, the newspaper Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. reported earlier this winter.
       
      It all started last summer, and that’s when the first Witnesses sought asylum in Finland, spokesperson Veikko Leininen with the organization’s Finnish branch told the newspaper.  Many dozens at least are still to come, he said.
      Press adviser Therese Bergwitz-Larsen with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can’t go into details about particular reasons for asylum seekers coming to Norway.
      Unfortunately, we can’t say anything in general on the background for reasons to apply for asylum, since the number [from Russia] is so small, Bergwitz-Larsen tells the Barents Observer.
      Statistics from UDI show that 15 persons came from Russia the Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. this year. In Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , 58 Russian asylum seekers came to Norway.
      In Russia, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses are estimated to about 175,000. That be, before the organization was declared extremist. Viewed with skepticism for denying military service, voting and refusal to take blood, the members are seen as both a threat to themselves, their children and public safety.
      Also during Soviet times, the Witnesses were persecuted.   
      Human Right Watch recently called on Russian authorities to drop charges against Danish citizen Dennis Christensen adherent for practicing his faith. Christensen has been in pretrial custody for 11 months in the town of Orel. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. argues that Russia is a member of Council of Europe and  a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefore is obligated to protect the rights to freedom of religion and association.
      My note: Russia passed a law in 2015 that basically stated that any CE or ECHR resolution or ruling they disagreed with could be ignored. I think it is a very good idea when governments start rounding up people for gas chambers, concentration or slave labor camps, or prison ... just be somewhere else.
      You may have to abandon everything you and your family ever worked for, with the clothes on your back, but at least when they upholster the living room furniture you left behind ... it won't be with YOUR SKIN.
       
       
       
    • By Bible Speaks
      Russian "Jehovah's Witnesses" seek refuge in Finland
      In 2017, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation recognized the Jehovah's Witnesses as an extremist organization and banned their activities in Russia. Many members of the organization left Russia after this and are trying to obtain asylum abroad. In Finland, "Witnesses" is now one of the largest asylum seekers in the Russian Federation

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    • By The Librarian
      Via Festus...
      The attached picture is historical. The man on left is Ari Hakkarainen, representative of JW in Finland. The woman in middle is reporter Susanna Päivärinta and the lady at right is Josefina Pakomaa who was abused by family friend - a JW - when she was 11. A vicious apostate today. So we have a representative from Branch and an apostate in same picture. Apparently they even shook hands before program. Josefiina and Ari that is. Nevertheless in past "brothers" came to conclusion that she was the guilty one for her own abuse. She had seduced the poor man. So he had to apologise the man and afterwards serve coffee and cookies to him.
      As a responsible journalist Päivärinta gave JW possibility to give their view of what has happened. Ari's interview starts around 18.45 and is full of surprises. In the very beginning Ari says that term "judicial committee is bit misleading" because the purpose of it is to give spiritual support and help. Well why is it called judicial committee then? 
      At 23.45 min Päivärinta asks a question about Josefinas case. Ari says "we are truly sorry that she has had to go through this ordeal..." that is not an official apology but probably a close as society can go. Further he mentions that he has familiarised himself with the case and contra what Josefiina says there was no judicial committee but two elders who had interviewed her. With other words he admits that society keeps files of cases like this.
      But further Ari acknowledges that she is a victim and victims are never requested to be in judicial committee. Somehow I have difficulties to believe in this. Background for this comment might be that few weeks before this program the national broadcasting company in Finland made a big story where several women claimed that JW had required them to be quite what it comes to cases such as Josefiina's.
      Then Päivärinta grills him further and refers to tv-program and asks about other women and their stories. Ari says that "he would like to say that it is not true" but points out that it might have happened in past with individual cases. Right after that he says that reason why society requests to contact juridical department first is that then juridical department can tell parents that "now your first thing to do is to go directly to authorities". But journalist Päivärinta continues and says "Ari I checked the instructions and it does not say go to authorities it says contact branch" Ari then replies "yes but in our publications there has been instructions to contact authorities during a longer period of time", "in what publications?" asks the journalist. "Watchtower" says Ari.
      Please give me that Watchtower's year and date since haven't seen a single WT magazine with that information!
      Then Päivärinta asks "what about these other women should they report these abuse cases to police" and looks like Ari is forced to say "Absolutely. We don't have any interests in covering up these kinds of activities".
      Päivärinta then asks about two witness policy and Ari replies that he would "separate child abuse cases from this since there might not be a single witness". Is that now against what GB recently said in one of the broadcasting? What it comes to two witness rule and rape cases Ari instructs the victim to contact police and if there is a doom from court JWs can rely to that and take it into consideration if the case is to be taken up in congregation.
      "We don't deal with crimes in congregation we deal with sins, police is there for crime investigations" well good if that is the case now but what comes to past I might have a different view. Further Ari denies that there would have ever been a culture of silencing victims but on the contrary a culture of "encouraging the victims to approach authorities" he also ducks Päivarinta's question of giving possible documents to police by referring to confidential information of individuals but he admits that there is a chance that some documents must be given to authorities someday in future.
      Päivärinta further asks if society is going to apologise possible victims "That is a good idea" says Ari but even thought he is more bombarded with the question the best he manages to say is "if there is a convenient opportunity to apologise well why not and if we have ever done something wrong of course we will apologise.." guess there is still no reason to expect JWs of Finland to officially apologise anything. 
      Ari is further asked about shunning and he mentions that if some one just stops attending meetings and going to field service - aka inactive - nothing changes. But with that "little percentage that is either disfellowshipped or has disassociated them selves" according to Ari there are no strict guidelines but it depends of a conscience of an individual meaning some people do shun strictly and some less strictly. "There is now one way" he says. Ari please. That is not true.
      Päivärinta grills him further and quotes WT and refers to Elders Manual and Ari is forced to say "well if you look up this from bible you will see that these guidelines are from bible". Shuure. He then softens the case by claiming that 50% will return. Ari, the figure might be smaller nowadays.
      Päivärinta then suggest that maybe they come back because they miss their family so much and says "Ari do you understand that it is a tough punishment, psychological violence if community rejects you?" Ari compares the situation with someone quitting a job if he/she has become unhappy with it and afterwards talks bad things about it. "Relations do easily become infected in situations like this" is Ari's comment. Ari. Job and family are not comparable. Ari then tells us that he does not shun anybody. He has in previous interviews said that he knows around 20 000 witnesses so somehow I don't buy this.
      Last few minutes Ari and Päivärinta do talk about the wonderful hope of Jehovah's Witnesses. "What happens to me and the other people when badness is wiped away?" asks Päivärinta. "God will determine that. We of course hope that everyone will live in paradise" replies Ari. Wrong answer. You will all die would have been more truthful.
      It is note worthy that Ari Hakkarainen was in this program. Usually society - in Finland - has used Veikko Leinonen but maybe his face has become "burnt" in media. Or maybe it is just too tough nowadays to be in lime light in connection with society since media is starting to ask tough questions. Or maybe Veikko was on vacation.
      Even if you don't understand Finnish you can see that Ari's body language is disturbing. Just take a look at at 25.00 minute when he is asked if society covers up abuse cases.
      Here is the link:

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    • By The Librarian
      A working group from the Ministry of Defence said that Finland's laws exempting Jehovah's Witnesses from military conscription should be abolished.

      The working group presented their report - which proposes that Finland repeal the exemption law - to Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö on Monday.
      Every year in Finland some 20,000 young men take part in the country's mandatory military conscription programme. Instead of serving in the military, young men have the option of carrying out their national service in civilian settings.
      But young Jehovah's Witnesses have had the right to refuse to serve the country - militarily or even in a civilian capacity - since 1987.
      The topic of whether followers of the Christian denomination should be compelled to serve in Finland's military has been debated for years.
      Teemu Penttilä, leader of the defence ministry working group behind the report, said the time to change the law has arrived.
      "The civil service [system] has changed significantly in recent years. For example, religious communities now offer places of employment [in civil service]. There has been a clear societal change," Penttilä said.
      Long history
      Finland has been dealing with this issue for more than a decade. In 2006 a Defence Ministry working group examined the topic but did not reach any conclusions. A similar effort - this time consulting foreign experts - was carried out in 2009 but had similar results.
      Efforts by defence ministers in 2011 and 2013 also failed to reach a solution. The subject re-emerged this year. 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , the Helsinki Court of Appeal found that permitting male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription was discriminatory. The implementation of the law protecting Jehovah's Witnesses from conscription more than three decades ago came as a response to criticism Finland received from the UN Human Rights Committee. The committee said it viewed conscientious objectors as prisoners of conscience and accused Finland of not fulfilling its international obligations.
      Before the law changed in the late 1980s, every year dozens of Jehovah's Witnesses were jailed for not complying with conscription laws.
      Increase in total objectors possible
      Jehovah's Witness' spokesperson Veikko Leinonen has previously said Finland's laws on mandatory civil service violate the religious group's authority.
      Leinonen warned that abolishing the exemption would result in a return to the situation before the law was instated, and that members of the church would rather choose to serve jail sentences than serve.
      But the Defence Ministry's Penttilä disagreed, saying that the working group consulted several Jehovah's Witnesses representatives who vowed that no one would be excluded from the church for carrying out civil service duties.
      "We're aware there's a risk the number of 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  may rise. But the working group found that it will not be a significant increase," Penttilä said.
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      More than 200 Jehovah's Witnesses - a religious organization banned in Russia - have applied for asylum in Finland. More than 100 members of this organization have arrived in the European country only so far in 2018. According to Juha Simila, representative of the Finnish migration service, about 10 cases have been analyzed so far and, in most of them, Finland rejected the asylum application. Simila explained to the Finnish newspaper Aamulehti that some denials have been appealed to the court and that in one of the cases the negative decision of the migration service has already been confirmed.
      Read more: 
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    • By The Librarian
      The Finnish government has ruled that the current law allowing Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid military service, in place for several decades, is discriminatory and contradicts the constitution.
      In the future, Finnish Jehovah's Witnesses* will be obliged to either serve in the nation's military or perform civil service on the same terms as everyone else, the government ruled, submitting a corresponding proposal to parliament, national broadcaster Yle reported.
      According to the 1987 law, Jehovah's Witnesses were not only freed from the military draft, they were freed of any obligation to perform community service as a pacifist alternative, a common option among other young people in Finland. The Finnish government has decided that this preferential treatment is discriminatory and contradicts the constitution. Repealing the law will allow all religious groups to get equal treatment in terms of conscription, the government's press release said.
      The government proposed a three-month transition period. Those applying for suspension within the three-month period before the new law enters into force shall be allowed to skip military service. After the transition period, exemptions will be no longer granted.
      Abolishing the Jehovah's Witnesses' draft exemption has been considered several times before, in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013, but nothing came of the discussions. However, the debate was re-kindled this year, when the Helsinki Supreme Court overruled a prison sentence against a conscientious objector who refused to perform community service. The court found it discriminatory to sentence a conscientious objector, when Jehovah's Witnesses don't need to do any military or community service whatsoever.
      "Today we have a kind of two-storied definition of personal convictions. Jehovah's Witnesses enjoy statutory liberation from military service, while others with pacifist convictions don't," former Defense Minister Stefan Wallin, who has long pushed for the abolition of differential treatment, explained.
      Veikko Leinonen, a Jehovah's Witnesses information officer in Finland, said this isn't a "working solution."
      "It's problematic. The belief the Jehovah's Witnesses follow opposes all forms of war and killing," Leinonen stressed. "Ideally, we should keep the system that exists today. It has worked well and does not violate anyone's rights," he added.
      This move is expected to cover some 130 people annually. According to Teemu Penttilä, the leader of the task force behind the investigation, the number of "total objectors" refusing both military service and community service won't rise significantly. In 2017, 33 conscientious objectors were sentenced in Finland.
      The Finnish Defense Forces operate on the principle of universal male conscription, although women are allowed to volunteer and have been availing themselves of this opportunity increasingly. With a peacetime strength of about 16,000 troops, Finland is capable of mobilizing up to 230,000 troops and service personnel within four weeks, making it the largest force in Scandinavia.
      The total number of Jehovah's Witnesses is estimated at about 20,000 in Finland.
      * Jehovah's Witnesses are banned in Russia

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A Finnish court has ruled that the exemption from military service currently enjoyed by Jehovah's Witnesses is discriminatory.
       
      News 23.2.2018 14:34 | updated 24.2.2018 10:53
      Jehovah's Witness exemption from conscription deemed prejudicial in "pivotal" ruling
      A Finnish court has ruled that the exemption from military service currently enjoyed by Jehovah's Witnesses is discriminatory.
      A new court ruled on Friday that the Finnish practice of allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription is discriminatory.
      The Helsinki Court of Appeal on Friday voted 4-3 for naming the policy discriminatory against other conscientious objectors. The ruling came in a discrimination case brought by a man who was imprisoned in 2016 for refusing conscripted service the year before.
      The decision is the first court verdict that directly denounces the decades-old exception (instated in 1987), which says that men belonging to the Jehovah's Witness denomination will uniquely not be sent to prison if they refuse both military and civilian service.
      The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Defense Ministry have long held that the law contradicts the constitution's principle of equality as well as its prohibition on discrimination.
      Basis in faith
      The majority of the court held that Finland has taken significant measures to improve equality since the exemption became law more than 30 years ago, such as signing the European Convention on Human Rights.
      Under current legislation Jehovah's Witnesses may postpone their entry into service for three years at a time (starting at age 18), until their obligation officially ceases at age 29.
      Proponents of the Christian faction cite their pacifist reading of the Bible as the basis of their objection, for which they receive no punishment. No other groups in Finland have the same right, except women, who have never been legally bound to enter conscripted service.
      "Pivotal" step follows international condemnation
      The Union of Conscientious Objectors (Finnish acronym AKL) tweeted about the news on Friday, calling the court's decision "pivotal" in the process towards banning conscription altogether.
      Robin Harms, a senior advisor to the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, has acted as legal counsel to the imprisoned man who originally brought the case to the Eastern Uusimaa District Court in 2015.
      "Favouring Jehovah's Witnesses in this way is an embarrassment for Finland," Harms says.
      More than that, human rights organisations including Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Committee have long chastised the Finnish government for its ongoing practice of forced conscription. Only male (non-Witness) Finns are obliged to choose between military service, a longer civilian service term and a six-month prison (or remote monitoring) sentence.
      AKL reports that an average of some 40 objectors have annually refused both military and civilian service since the beginning of the 21st century. Some 100 Jehovah's Witnesses plead the law of exception to avoid conscription each year. While 72 percent of young men enter military service (minimum 6 months) when called, some 2,000 men opt for a civilian service period (minimum 347 days).
      All men who are jailed for objecting to conscription are considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience.
      Justice Minister: Consider exemption anew
      Justice Minister Antti Häkkänen said after the verdict that the current exemptions from military service should be evaluated in the light of the verdict.
      "If some group or other has exemptions based on their beliefs, then in this day and age they should always be evaluated to make sure different groups are treated equally," said Häkkänen.
      Häkkänen added that participation in national defence is mandated in the Finnish constitution, and that exceptions to that are based on religious convictions.
      "How are those interests weighed against each other in different situations, especially in a changing world, then that's a big constitutional law question as well," said Häkkänen. "This is an interesting issue that must now be resolved fairly."
      EDIT: This story was edited on 23 February to add comments from the Justice Minister.

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    • By Queen Esther
      REFUGEES,  WITNESSES  IN  FINLAND
      Russian Jehovah's Witnesses who have come to Finland in search of asylum. Also a Finnish presidential candidate mentioned that the highest percentage of asylum seekers in a particular Finnish refugee center at this time are the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses. The immigration office states that 1,000 Russian Witnesses have sought asylum last year and even earlier.
      Apparently, there was systematic harassment of Witnesses in Russia and a law was passed that the Witnesses can lose custody of their children, if it is proved that the children are indoctrinated by their parents.
                         ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
    • By The Librarian
      The immediate response from the branch office after the tragedy provided comfort and reassurance to both Witnesses and non-Witnesses shaken by the event.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Original news report:
       
    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      The daughter Laila Johansson greets her at least twice a week. Then she often read a piece from the Bible
      Biography
      Helfrid Eriksson was born on 23 June 1908 in Pernå, Southern Finland, Finland. Her father was a bricklayer and her mother a housewife. Helfrid and her sister studied at a girls' school in Helsinki. She married taxi driver Paul Eriksson and they had a daughter and two sons. Her mother and father lived to be 95 years old.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  
       
    • By Bible Speaks
      In the ministry in Finland. Photo shared by @vera_laaksonen
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Made these as gifts to give to the brothers and sisters in the special convention in Helsinki, Finland.

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  
       

    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Hey Robert ....
      I "talk" with my brother, Robert, on the telephone about politics .... well.... he talks .... and I listen.
      My brother, who lives about 250 miles away, hates Donald Trump with a salivating and spittle, foaming at the mouth passion, and nearly goes into stroke-mode lambasting him, at which time I cannot get a word in edgewise.  After about 45 minutes he slows down, and I can hear his wife in the background telling him to calm down, Robert, calm down, calm down.
      Today he called, and I casually mentioned he seems to have a dilemma .....as currently it seems Bernie Sanders, avowed true believer Socialist and Communist, who got married in Moscow, seems to be the front-runner for the Democrat Primaries going on, and may be the Democrat Party Candidate for President of the United States!
      I told him ... "Hey Robert ... it looks like you have a choice between Bernie Sanders, and voting for Donald Trump, to keep the USA from going Socialist !"
      Even though he was on the phone, I thought I heard the "AAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!," outside my house.
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Norway is the great catalyst that will force the GB to start thinking about basic human rights, as currently there is a lot of discussion in the Norwegian Government about " ... Why are we giving the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Norwegian dollars (Kroners) every year from Tax money for their charities ... for EACH and every of the approximately 112,000 JWs in Norway (paraphrased), when they prohibit their members to vote"... which THEY consider to be an inalienable, and non-negotiable human right of all peoples, everywhere.
      The WTB&TS is currently being governed by the Lawyers, Accountants, and the Finances department, with the GB not admitting being personally responsible for ANYTHING.
      What we consider "reasonable", they consider EXTREMIST, and many European nations give tax money to ALL legitimate churches, without restriction on how they spend it.
      By violating what these governments' and peoples' basic understanding on what constitutes extremism, soon, if not already, it is going to affect the flow of cash into the Society's Treasury.
      One of several major concerns of the Governing Body is to not hemorrhage money, as it has been doing for years in the constant Child Sexual Abuse court cases.
      THIS is what will drive any change .... not love ... not justice ...not fairness .... MONEY!
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      By the way .... has the Society recently decided that voting is a matter of personal conscience?
      What I have read is so "weasel worded", I cannot tell.

    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      A Baku court fined Kamran Huseynzade four months' average wages for selling religious books outside a mosque without state permission. The head of the censorship department at the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations lamented that only 42 of 100 places selling religious literature have the required state licence. All published and imported religious literature is subject to prior compulsory censorship.
      Amid the continuing imposition of state censorship of all religious literature published and distributed in Azerbaijan or imported into it, a court in the capital Baku has handed down another large fine for selling religious literature without state permission. A judge fined Kamran Huseynzade about four months' average wages. The 180 books seized from him were confiscated.
       
      Surakhani District Court, Baku
      RFE/RL
      Huseynzade faced charges not related to the content of the books but solely to offering the books for sale without state permission. He chose not to appeal against his fine (see below).

      The head of the department that censors religious literature and objects at the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations, Nahid Mammadov, lamented at a conference on state censorship on 23 September that only 42 of the more than 100 shops selling religious literature across the country have the required state licence. He complained that the unlicensed shops "create certain problems" (see below).

      Mammadov was not in the office at the State Committee on 27 September. One of his colleagues put the phone down when Forum 18 asked why all religious literature is subject to prior compulsory state censorship (see below).

      When police detain Jehovah's Witnesses on the street as they share their faith with others, officers often seize any religious literature they find. Similarly, during raids on Jehovah's Witness meetings in homes, police often check whether religious publications have the required sticker from the State Committee showing that they have undergone the state religious censorship (see below).

      Muslim theologian Elshad Miri is preparing to lodge a case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in October over the 2018 State Committee ban on the publication of one of his books on Islam. Four Jehovah's Witness cases over state bans on the import of their literature are still pending with the court, as is a case lodged by Muslims who study the works of the late Turkish Muslim theologian Said Nursi (see below).

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      The ban on Jehovah's Witnesses* as a religious organization is no basis for persecuting for faith, but law enforcers ignore it, Maxim Pervunin, a lawyer for four Dagestani believers, has stated at a press conference today. He pointed to parallels of persecutions of Jehovah's Witnesses in modern Russia with the Soviet-time practices.
      The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 1, searches were conducted in four cities of Dagestan. Law enforcers detained and placed behind bars four Jehovah's Witnesses, Arsen Abdullaev, Maria Karpova, Anton Dergalyov and Marat Abdulgalimov. Their relatives and friends claim that charges of extremism have been brought against peace-loving and law-abiding people.
      In modern Russia, the persecution history of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Soviet Union is repeated, Maxim Pervunin said at a press conference. He has noted that the methodology for proving guilt, which is now used by investigative bodies, remains largely the same. However, Mr Pervunin expressed hope that in future believers will be rehabilitated, as it already happened in the USSR.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      This week marked 25 years in prison without charges or trial for three men in Eritrea. The trio—identified as Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos and Negede Teklemariam—have been incarcerated in the East African nation since 1994, after refusing to partake in military service, part of their pacifist beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses.
      Authorities arrested Eyasu, Mogos and Teklemariam on September 17, 1994, but formal charges were never filed and they've never come before the court. In 2017, they were transferred to Mai Serwa prison, where they were allowed visitors for the first time, according to Human Rights Watch.

      Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos and Negede Teklemariam have been imprisoned in Eritrea since 1994.JW.ORG

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      On September 18, 2019, in the Leninsky District Court of Saratov, the prosecutor requested 7 years of prison term for Konstantin Bazhenov, Feliks Makhammadiyev and Aleksey Budenchuk and 6 years for Aleksey Miretskiy, Roman Gridasov and Gennadiy German. All of them are charged with their religious beliefs.
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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of the imprisonment of three Jehovah's Witnesses in Eritrea, where they have been subject to torture and allowed little contact with the world outside the prison walls.
      Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos, and Negede Teklemariam were detained on Sept. 17, 1994, apparently because they conscientiously objected to military service, according to a report published in August by the Jehovah's Witnesses' Office of Public Information. They were held at the Sawa military training camp until 2017, when they were transferred to Mai Serwa prison, where they were briefly granted access to visitors for the first time since their imprisonment. None of the three have been charged or granted a hearing.
      Their detention has also proven painful for friends and family, and one described his sorrow at losing his friend a quarter-century ago.
      "I was with him the night before they arrested him," said Eyasu's friend, who asked for anonymity for protection. "Our families spent the whole evening together. That was the last time I saw my friend. He has been imprisoned for the past 25 years. It was very painful to lose such a friend. I know he has not done anything wrong, and he has been suffering for so long, it really breaks my heart. He was a very honest, hardworking, upright man. He was young and a person of impeccable character."
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Some brothers in Zimbabwe say that literature has been witheld for 5 months by government. Authorities  claim that witnesses owe  them money. JWs trust that Jehovah will arrange the matters. 
      Has anyone hear about this? 
      Please comment below, thanks 
       

    • Guest
      By Guest
      In 1938, a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses was arrested after asking people on a New Haven, Conn., street if they would listen to the religious records. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1940 in favor of the Witnesses, holding that the state had violated their freedom of religion. #VinylRecordDay En 1938, una familia de testigos de Jehová fue arrestada después de preguntar a la gente en un nuevo refugio, conn., calle si se los registros religiosos. El Tribunal Supremo de ee. uu. Dictaminó en 1940 a favor de los testigos, sosteniendo que el estado había violado su libertad de religión. #Vinylrecordday
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Mingachevir: Challenge to illegal police raid fails
      On 18 September 2018, Judge Elchin Huseynov of Sheki Appeal Court rejected a civil case brought by four Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eldar Aliyev, Maryam Aliyeva, Elchin Bakirov and Bahruz Kerimov, against an illegal police raid on a worship meeting, according to the decision seen by Forum 18.

      Police had raided a Jehovah’s Witness meeting in Aliyev’s home in the north-western town of Mingachevir on 9 January 2016. Mingachevir City Court then fined Aliyev 1,500 Manats in March 2016, and Sheki Appeal Court upheld the fine the following month.

      The four lodged a civil suit to Mingachevir City Court, seeking redress for the police’s illegal entry into Aliyev’s home without a court order or search warrant, their “detention, verbal insults and humiliation”, and seizure of personal literature. But the court rejected the suit on 25 May 2018.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      ChinaAid reports that 18 individuals have been indicted in Xinjiang, 17 for “using an evil religion organization” to “incite the obstruction of law enforcement,” and one of them for “obstructing law enforcement by organizing and using an evil religious organization.” ChinaAid also provides the names of all these indicted and further details.
      The formulae mentioned by ChinaAid correspond to Art. 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code, which establishes jail penalties of three to seven years “or more” for  “using a xie jiao” (sometimes translated as “evil cult” and in ChinaAid article as “evil religious organization,” while scholars point out that “heterodox teachings” would be a better translation). The formula “using a xie jiao for obstructing the law enforcement” (or “inciting the obstruction of law enforcement”) is also customary.
      While Chinese propaganda abroad insists that Art. 300 is only enforced against members of groups the CCP labels as xie jiao, including Falun Gong and The Church of Almighty God, who commit serious crimes, this case confirms once again that this interpretation is false. “Using a xie jiao for obstructing law enforcement” is a rhetoric formula used as a synonymous for “being active in an illegal religious organization.” In fact, the 18 Jehovah’s Witnesses were accused of “spreading superstition and heresy” and of inciting people not to join the CCP (Witnesses are forbidden by their religion from joining any political organization), not of any other crime. It is clear that Art. 300 is enforced against those who gather to profess, or spread, a banned faith, a typical “crime of conscience.” No other crime is required.
      It is the first time that Art. 300 is applied for a general crackdown against the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As far as Bitter Winter knows, they are not included in the current list of the xie jiao, yet the indictment in Xinjiang implies that they are regarded as a xie jiao. In fact, we have learned that recently pastors of the Three-Self Church insisted that the list of the xie jiao should be expanded, including new groups they regard as “heretic” (and perhaps as too successful in converting members of the same Three-Self Church).
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Khujand court has extended Jehovah's Witness pensioner Shamil Khakimov's pre-trial detention for another month. His "crime", for which he was arrested in February, seems to be that he is thought to lead Khujand's Jehovah's Witness community. Against international human rights standards, he is not allowed to read his Bible.
      A court in the northern city of Khujand has again extended the pre-trial detention of 68-year-old Jehovah's Witness prisoner of conscience Shamil Khakimov until 26 June. He was arrested in February and is being investigated on criminal charges of allegedly "inciting religious hatred", which carry a jail term of between five and ten years. But his real "crime" seems to be that the regime thinks he leads Khujand's Jehovah's Witness community.
       
      Khujand City Court
      Radioi Ozodi (RFE/RL)
      Khakimov, a widower, suffers from high blood pressure and underwent major leg surgery not long before his February arrest.

      The court can legally continue extending Khakimov's pre-trial detention for up to one year – to 26 February 2020 – and an April extension of the detention took place illegally without his lawyer being informed (see below).

      Against international human rights standards, prisoner of conscience Khakimov is not being allowed the read his Bible (see below).

      In 2016 seven imam-hatyps of state-controlled cathedral mosques in Sogd Region were jailed, apparently for being educated abroad and being devout Muslims, and their sentences are due to expire between March and August 2019. But the regime is refusing to say when they will be released (see below).

      However, relatives of alleged Salafi Muslim Mukhtadi Abdulkodyrov, arrested in December 2018, said a Dushanbe court released him on parole in mid-March 2019 (see below).
       
      Pre-trial detention again extended

      Jehovah's Witness Shamil Rasulovich Khakimov (born 30 August 1950), a retired widower, arrested on 26 February and then put in pre-trial detention, has had his detention extended twice.

      Khujand City Court in the northern Sogd Region extended his detention for one month on 23 April, and then for a further month on 24 May. His pre-trial detention will now last until 26 June, Jehovah's Witnesses who wish to remain anonymous told Forum 18 on 27 May.

      They pointed out that the authorities can legally continue extending the pre-trial detention for up to one year – to 26 February 2020.

      Judge Abruniso Mirasilzoda of Khujand City Court, who ordered the initial pre-trial detention, refused to explain the repeated extensions of the detention to Forum 18 on 29 May.
       
      "Inciting religious hatred", no arrests or prosecution of torturers

      Khakimov is being investigated for allegedly "inciting religious hatred", but his real "crime" appears to be that police think he leads Khujand's Jehovah's Witness community.

      Prisoner of conscience Khakimov's arrest came after police found his phone number on the phones of two female Jehovah's Witnesses they arrested for sharing their beliefs on the street. Investigator Nekruz Ibrokhimzoda of the Sogd Regional Police Organised Crime Department called Khakimov's number as well as other numbers on the phones, and then arrested Khakimov.

      Prisoner of conscience Khakimov's arrest followed raids and interrogations, in some cases involving torture, against Jehovah's Witnesses in Sogd Region and other religious communities nationwide.

      Despite Tajikistan's binding international obligations under the United Nations (UN) Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, no arrests or prosecutions appear to have taken place against officials who tortured Jehovah's Witnesses.
       
      Detention extended without lawyer, appeal refused

      On 23 April Khujand City Court extended Khakimov's pre-trial detention until 26 May, but illegally his lawyer was not informed of the court hearing. The detention was extended at the request of Investigator Nosirkhuja Dodokhonzoda of Sogd Regional Prosecutor's Office, who is now leading the case.

      Police had without explanation and illegally refused to allow a defence lawyer to be present during Khakimov's initial February interrogation. 

      On 29 April Sogd Regional Court rejected an appeal brought by Jehovah's Witnesses against the extension of Khakimov's pre-trial detention.

      Madina Mukumzoda, head of Khujand City Court's Chancellery, refused on 29 May to discuss the case with Forum 18.
       
      Prisoner of conscience Khakimov is being held under Criminal Code Article 189, Part 2 ("Inciting national, racial, local or religious hatred or dissension, humiliation of national dignity, as well as propaganda of the superiority of citizens based on their religion, national, racial, or local origin, if committed in public or using the mass media"). If tried and convicted he could be jailed for between five and 10 years, with an additional ban on specified activity.

      Prisoner of conscience Khakimov is currently held in Khujand's Investigation Prison:

      Ya/S 9/2 Investigation Prison
      Khujand
      Sogd Region
       
      No Bible reading allowed

      Khakimov's lawyer can visit him in prison. "His health is comparatively good, and he is being given medicines," Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18 on 4 June. "He can pray but he is not permitted to read his Bible."

      The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the Mandela Rules - A/C.3/70/L.3) require governments to respect the freedom of religion and belief and other human rights of prisoners.

      "So far as practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the needs of his or her religious life by attending the services provided in the prison and having in his or her possession the books of religious observance and instruction of his or her denomination", Rule 66 notes.

      Prisoner of conscience Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov, who led a Protestant Church in Khujand, was jailed for three years in July 2017 under Criminal Code Article 189, Part 1 for allegedly "singing extremist songs in church and so inciting 'religious hatred'".

      A Tajik Protestant who wishes to remain unnamed for fear of state reprisals told Forum 18 on 27 May that Pastor Kholmatov "was visited in prison recently, and is seemingly doing fine".
       
      Will jailed Sogd Muslims be released?

      In early March 2016, seven imam-hatyps of state-controlled cathedral mosques in Sogd Region were arrested on the initiative of the Regional Prosecutor's Office.

      Sulaymon Boltuyev was Imam of the cathedral Mosque in Guliston (former Kayrakkum), Maksud Urunov Imam of the cathedral Mosque in Kanibadam, and Abdujamil Yusufi of the cathedral Mosque in Bobojon Gofurov District. The other arrested imams were: Abbos Abdurakhmanov, Imam Urunov's deputy at the Kanibadam Cathedral Mosque; Khuseyn Tukhtayev, another imam-hatyp from Kanibadam's Cathedral Mosque; Hamzaali Sultanov of Khujand's Takvo Mosque; and Makhdi Boltayev (an Uzbek citizen) of Isfara's Navgilem Mosque.

      Bobojon Gofurov District Court sentenced all seven of the imams in June 2016 to between three years and three years and four months' imprisonment in strict regime labour camps.

      The jailings appear to have been part of a State Committee for Religious Affairs and Regulation of Traditions, Ceremonies and Rituals (SCRA) campaign to identify and fire all foreign-educated imams. Many other Muslims, including imams, were jailed at the same time for similar reasons.

      The seven imams' sentences are due to expire between March and August 2019, but officials are refusing to say whether they will be released. 

      An official who refused to give his name, but is an assistant to Lieutenant-General Mansurjon Umarov, Head of the Justice Ministry's Chief Directorate of Enforcement of Criminal Punishments, told Forum 18 on 29 May 2019 that the seven imams were prosecuted under Criminal Code Article 307-3, Part 2, which punishes "participation in the activity of political parties, social or religious organisations, or other organisations, liquidated or banned by a court for extremist activity".

      The official added that "those who are punished under such charges cannot be amnestied. They must serve their sentence till the end". However, he refused to say when the imams will be released, or if any have already been released.

      Lieutenant-General Umarov's assistant asked Forum 18 to call back the next day, 30 May, but has not answered his phone then or subsequently.
       
      2017 Sogd arrests, harsher jail sentences

      The jailing of the seven imams seems to have been the beginning of a wave of jailings in Sogd. In September 2017 42-year old Imam Ilkhomiddin Abdulloyev of the Chorrukh-Dorun Mosque in a suburb of Guliston and four members of the Mosque community, one of whom is named Kasymov, were arrested. In November 2017 all were jailed for five and half years.

      Human rights defender Faiziniso Vakhidova told Forum 18 in December 2017 that Imam Abdulloyev is "not an extremist at all, but a very peaceful believer" and a disciple of Imam Boltuyev who was imprisoned earlier under similar "extremism" charges. "Imam Abdulloyev may have been arrested for that reason", human rights defender Vakhidova commented.

      Also jailed in Sogd Region between August and December 2017 were other male Muslim prisoners of conscience, including a well-known heart surgeon. All were accused of being adherents of Salafi Islam, a movement banned since 2009.

      None of those jailed appears to have called for or committed any violation of the human rights of others, and officials refused to explain what exactly they had done wrong. But it appears that their "crime" was to be identified by regime officials as being devout Muslims. All received prison terms of at least five years.
       
      Alleged Salafi released on parole with restrictions
       
      Ismoili Somoni District Court, Dushanbe
      Radioi Ozodi (RFE/RL)
      About three months after his arrest, Dushanbe's Ismoili Somoni District Court handed alleged Salafi Muslim Mukhtadi Abdulkodyrov a term under probation. He was released on parole in mid-March, his relatives told Radio Free Europe (RFE) on 23 March. Tajikistan has banned Salafi Islam since 2009 as "extremist".

      Abdulkodyrov must not change his permanent place of residence, work, or education without notifying the authorities, the Court told RFE. If he does not follow these restrictions he can be taken back into custody.

      The National Security Committee (NSC) secret police arrested Abdulkodyrov on 1 December 2018 after his return from working in Saudi Arabia, despite writing a letter of "repentance" at the request of officials before his return.

      Prosecutors originally investigated Abdulkodyrov under Criminal Code Article 307, Part 2 ("organising the activity of an extremist organisation"). However, in January 2019 this was changed to a charge under Article 189, Part 1 ("Inciting national, racial, local or religious hatred or dissension, humiliation of national dignity, as well as propaganda of the superiority of citizens based on their religion, national, racial, or local origin, if committed in public or using the mass media"). This carries a maximum jail term of five years.

      An Ismoili Somoni District Court Chancellery official (who refused to give his name) on 29 May 2019 still refused to discuss Abdulkodyrov's punishment and referred Forum 18 to Court Chair Gayrat Sanginzoda. He did not answer his phone on either 29 or 30 May. Nor did Lieutenant-General Mansurjon Umarov, head of the Justice Ministry's Chief Directorate of Enforcement of Criminal Punishments, on 30 May. (END)

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      With the congregation of Southwest Niagara Falls today. A list of our 608 brothers and sisters currently in prison for maintaining their neutrality.

    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      By Felix Corley, Forum 18
      In addition to one Muslim on trial in Shymkent, 18 individuals are known to be currently jailed for exercising freedom of religion or belief. All are Sunni Muslim men. A further 11 are serving restricted freedom sentences. A further 12 are under post-jailing bans on specific activity. A further 29 who have completed sentences still have their bank accounts blocked.
      As the criminal trial of Sunni Muslim Dilmurat Makhamatov continues in Shymkent, 18 individuals are known to be in jail for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. All of them are Sunni Muslim men. In addition, a further 11 individuals are known to be serving restricted freedom sentences for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. All but one of them are Sunni Muslim men.
        Prison at Zarechny, Almaty Region Kazis Toguzbaev (RFE/RL) The individuals or those close to them all deny that they harmed the human rights of others or called for the human rights of others to be harmed.

      Even when sentences are complete, punishment does not stop. A further 12 individuals who have completed prison terms or restricted freedom sentences are still under often vague post-jailing bans on specific activity. This is likely to be an underestimate, as such post-jailing bans are not often made public (see below). 

      Those serving restricted freedom sentences live at home under probation. They can be assigned community work and are banned from leaving the town or changing their job or residence without permission. They can also be banned from visiting locations, like cafes or casinos.

      Post-jailing bans on specific activity are handed down as part of the sentence. For those convicted to punish exercise of freedom of religion or belief, such bans – which can be vaguely worded - often include bans on visiting places of worship or sharing their faith with others (see below).

      In addition, a further 29 individuals who have completed prison terms or restricted freedom sentences, apparently as well as any possible post-jailing bans, still have access to any bank accounts blocked (see below).

      Individuals jailed on "extremism" or "terrorism" related charges remain on the list for six or eight years after the sentence is completed. The use of undefined terms, such as "extremism" and "terrorism", by officials and in laws, has been strongly criticised by Kazakh human rights defenders and the United Nations Human Rights Committee (see below).

      Criminal cases against almost all these individuals were initiated by the National Security Committee (KNB) secret police.

      The closed trial in Shymkent of 40-year-old Muslim Dilmurat Makhamatov began on 4 April. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.

      Known individuals on trial (1 person), serving prison sentences (18), serving restricted freedom sentences (11), under post-jailing bans (12) and still on the financial blacklist after completing sentences (29) are listed below.
        Who are the victims?

      A large group of those jailed, sentenced to restricted freedom or under other restrictions are Muslims punished on charges of alleged membership of the Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary group. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.

      Some of the individuals admitted adherence to the group. Others were punished for discussing their faith with other Muslims in mosques, on the streets or in homes.

      The KNB secret police have also initiated criminal cases against Muslims who earlier studied their faith in Saudi Arabia.

      Another group are Muslims the Kazakh authorities have had returned from Saudi Arabia, who have been punished for talks or comments on Islam they or others have posted recordings on the internet or otherwise distributed.

      The authorities are still seeking the return of other Muslims now based abroad. They failed to have Murat Bakrayev returned from Germany, when Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.

      The KNB earlier arranged the criminal prosecution of three non-Muslims for talking about their faith to others, apparently set up by the KNB. Seventh-day Adventist Yklas Kabduakasov Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , while two Jehovah's Witnesses, Teymur Akhmedov and Asaf Guliyev Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Kabduakasov is still on the financial blacklist after completing his prison term, while Guliyev is still serving his restricted freedom sentence. 

      Then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev pardoned Akhmedov – a pensioner and cancer sufferer - in April 2018. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
        Criminal Code charges

      All these individuals have been punished under one or several of three Articles of the current Criminal Code (or their earlier equivalents):

      - Criminal Code Article 174, which punishes "Incitement of social, national, clan, racial, or religious discord, insult to the national honour and dignity or religious feelings of citizens, as well as propaganda of exclusivity, superiority or inferiority of citizens on grounds of their religion, class, national, generic or racial identity, committed publicly or with the use of mass media or information and communication networks, as well as by production or distribution of literature or other information media, promoting social, national, clan, racial, or religious discord".

      - Criminal Code Article 256, which punishes "Propaganda of terrorism or public calls to commit terrorism".

      - Criminal Code Article 405, which punishes "Organising or participating in the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation after a court decision banning their activity or their liquidation in connection with extremism or terrorism they have carried out".

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        Post-jail bans

      Post-jailing bans on specific activity are often handed down as part of the sentence. For those convicted to punish exercise of freedom of religion or belief, such bans – which can be vaguely worded - often include bans on visiting places of worship or sharing their faith with others.

      When a court jailed Muslim Saken Tulbayev in July 2015, it also Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  In September 2016, the Supreme Court Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.

      When an Astana court jailed Jehovah's Witness Teymur Akhmedov in May 2017, it also Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  This ban was lifted when Akhmedov was freed and pardoned in April 2018.
        Financial blacklisting

      Those convicted for exercising freedom of religion or belief are almost always added to the Finance Ministry Financial Monitoring Committee List of individuals "connected with the financing of terrorism or extremism". Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.

      Individuals remain on the financial blacklist for six or eight years after their sentence has expired as they are deemed still to have a criminal record.
        On trial

      1) Dilmurat Sultanmuratovich Makhamatov; Sunni Muslim; born 21 February 1979; arrested 19 December 2018; trial began 4 April 2019 Shymkent's Al-Farabi District Court; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 2 and Article 256, Part 2.
        Jailed

      The 18 individuals (all of them Sunni Muslim men) known to be serving prison sentences to punish them for exercising freedom of religion or belief. Listed in reverse order of date of release.

      1) Dadash Temergaliyevich Mazhenov; Sunni Muslim; born 28 September 1990; arrested 23 April 2018; sentenced 16 November 2018 Burabai District Court; Criminal Code Article 256, Part 2; appeal rejected 30 January 2019 Akmola Regional Court; 7 years and 8 months in a general regime labour camp plus fee of 60,790.14 Tenge. Expected prison release date: December 2025.

      2) Galymzhan Ramazanovich Abilkairov; Sunni Muslim; born 29 January 1988; arrested 23 April 2018; sentenced 19 October 2018 Burabai District Court; Criminal Code Article 256, Part 2; appeal rejected 26 December 2018 Akmola Regional Court; 7 years and 7 months' jail term. Expected prison release date: November 2025.

      3) Abdukhalil Abdukhamidovich Abduzhabbarov; Sunni Muslim; born 6 April 1975; arrested 18 February 2017; sentenced 16 August 2017 Oral City Court; Old Criminal Code Article 164, Part 3 (equivalent to Article 174, Part 3 of new Code); 8 year prison term, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: February 2025.

      4) Nariman Kabdyrakhmanovich Seytzhanov; Sunni Muslim; born 2 May 1989; arrested 15 January 2017 (after earlier arrest in Kyrgyzstan); sentenced 9 June 2017 Kokshetau City Court; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1; appeal rejected 16 August 2017 Akmola Regional Court; 5 year prison term, plus 91,693.58 Tenge fee, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: January 2022.

      5) Satymzhan Bagytzhanuli Azatov; Sunni Muslim; born 17 September 1989; arrested 4 January 2017; sentenced 10 July 2017 Astana's Saryarka Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1 and Article 256, Part 1; appeal rejected 12 September 2017 Astana City Court; 4 year and 8 month prison term, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: September 2021.

      6) Abilai Aidaruly Bokbasarov; Sunni Muslim; born 12 February 1991; arrested 13 August 2018; sentenced 9 January 2019 Balkhash City Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; no appeal; 3 years' imprisonment in a medium-security institution, plus 5-year post-prison ban on right to engage in religious activity. Expected prison release date: August 2021.

      7) Iliyan Raiymzhan; Sunni Muslim; born 8 February 1992; arrested April 2017; arrested April 2017; sentenced 1 August 2017 Tekeli City Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 19 September 2017 Almaty Regional Court 4 year prison term, plus 2 and a half years' post-prison ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: April 2021.

      😎 Kuanysh Ablayevich Bashpayev; Sunni Muslim; born 3 February 1987 ; arrested 12 October 2016; sentenced 7 April 2017 Pavlodar City Court No. 2; appeal 15 June 2017 Pavlodar Regional Court modified labour camp provision; Old Criminal Code Article 164, Part 1 (equivalent to Article 174, Part 1 of new Code); 4 and a half years' imprisonment, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: April 2021.

      9) Bakhytzhan Esimkhanovich Baimusayev; Sunni Muslim; born 15 November 1963; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 4 April 2017 Sairam District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; no appeal; 4 years' imprisonment, plus 4-year post-prison ban on activities, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: April 2021.

      10) Abduvakhab Salibekovich Shakirov; Sunni Muslim; born 21 December 1962; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 4 April 2017 Sairam District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; no appeal; 4 years' imprisonment, plus 4-year post-prison ban on activities, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: April 2021.

      11) Serik Elubayevich Kanaliyev; Sunni Muslim; born 25 April 1971; arrest date unknown; sentenced 22 December 2016 Zhanaozen City Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1 and Part 2; no appeal; 4 years' imprisonment. Expected prison release date: by December 2020.

      12) Kazbek Asylkhanovich Laubayev; Sunni Muslim; born 30 October 1978; arrested 30 October 2017; sentenced 6 April 2018 Karaganda's October District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; appeal rejected 22 May 2018 Karaganda Regional Court; 3 years' imprisonment in general regime labour camp. Expected prison release date: October 2020.

      13) Marat Amantayevich Konyrbayev; Sunni Muslim; born 16 March 1981; arrested 30 October 2017; sentenced 6 April 2018 Karaganda's October District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; appeal rejected 22 May 2018 Karaganda Regional Court; 3 years' imprisonment in general regime labour camp. Expected prison release date: October 2020.

      14) Taskali Nasipkaliyevich Naurzgaliyev; Sunni Muslim; born 3 May 1981; arrested 30 October 2017; sentenced 6 April 2018 Karaganda's October District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; appeal rejected 22 May 2018 Karaganda Regional Court; 3 years' imprisonment in general regime labour camp. Expected prison release date: October 2020.

      15) Saken Peisenovich Tulbayev; Sunni Muslim; born 16 June 1969; arrested 1 April 2015; sentenced 2 July 2015 Almaty's Bostandyk Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1 and Article 405, Part 2; 4 years 8 months' imprisonment, plus 3-year ban on sharing his faith with others and membership of "extremist" organisations. Expected prison release date: December 2019.

      16) Rollan Talgatovich Arystanbekov; Sunni Muslim; born 5 December 1981; arrested November 2016; sentenced 28 June 2017 Atyrau City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 29 August 2017 Atyrau Regional Court; 3 year prison term, plus 2 or 3 year post-prison ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: November 2019.

      17) Dmitry Valeryevich Tsilenko; Sunni Muslim; born 7 February 1991; arrested 5 October 2016; sentenced 12 May 2017 Kostanai City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; appeal rejected 4 July 2017 Kostanai Regional Court; 3 year prison term, plus 278,038 Tenge fee, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: October 2019.

      18) Serik Kudaibergenovich Erimbetov; Sunni Muslim; born 12 September 1975; arrested 8 July 2016; sentenced 28 December 2016 Almaty Region's Zhambyl District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 28 February 2017 Almaty Regional Court; 3 years' prison, plus fee plus bank accounts blocked. Expected prison release date: July 2019.
        Restricted freedom sentences

      The 11 individuals (all but one of them Sunni Muslim men) known to be serving restricted freedom sentences to punish them for exercising freedom of religion or belief. Individuals live at home on probation and under restrictions. Listed in reverse order of date of release.

      1) Ermek Serikovich Kuanshaliyev; Sunni Muslim; born 29 December 1980; arrested 20 October 2018; sentenced 6 December 2018 Atyrau City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1 and Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 3 and a half years' restricted freedom, plus book destruction. Expected restricted freedom release date: April 2022.

      2) Erzhan Ruslanovich Sharmukhambetov; Sunni Muslim; born 26 November 1980; arrested 20 October 2018; sentenced 6 December 2018 Atyrau City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1 and Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 3 and a half years' restricted freedom. Expected restricted freedom release date: April 2022.

      3) Denis Valeryevich Korzhavin; Sunni Muslim; born 21 May 1983; arrested 18 February 2017; sentenced 11 May 2017 Almaty's Almaly District Court; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1; no appeal; 5 years' restricted freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected restricted freedom release date: February 2022.

      4) Asaf Gadzhiaga ogly Guliyev; Jehovah's Witness; born 4 October 1973; arrested 18 January 2017; sentenced 24 February 2017 Astana's Saryarka Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 2; no appeal; 5 years' restricted freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected restricted freedom release date: January 2022.

      5) Amanzhol Zhaksylykovich Kishkentekov; Sunni Muslim; born 10 December 1973; arrested May 2018; sentenced 9 July 2018 Aktobe City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; no appeal; 3 years' restricted freedom plus 120 hours' community service. Expected restricted freedom release date: May 2021.

      6) Zhanat Sabyrzhanuly Dosalin; Sunni Muslim; born 15 May 1981; arrested May 2018; sentenced 9 July 2018 Aktobe City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; no appeal; 3 years' restricted freedom. Expected restricted freedom release date: May 2021.

      7) Zhasulan Zhappargaliuly; Sunni Muslim; born 14 April 1980; sentenced 9 July 2018 Aktobe City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year's restricted freedom plus 120 hours' community service. Expected restricted freedom release date: July 2019.

      😎 Mukharam Bulikbayevich Baizakov; Sunni Muslim; born 13 February 1959; sentenced 9 July 2018 Aktobe City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year's restricted freedom plus 120 hours' community service. Expected restricted freedom release date: July 2019.

      9) Daulet Imanshapiuly Elemesov; Sunni Muslim; born 15 June 1989; sentenced 9 July 2018 Aktobe City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year's restricted freedom plus 120 hours' community service. Expected restricted freedom release date: July 2019.

      10) Aslan Ryskaliyevich Temiralin; Sunni Muslim; born 15 June 1974; sentenced 9 July 2018 Aktobe City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year's restricted freedom. Expected restricted freedom release date: July 2019.

      11) Miras Bisengaliyevich Murzagulov; Sunni Muslim; born 2 June 1984; sentenced 9 July 2018 Aktobe City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year's restricted freedom, plus book destruction. Expected restricted freedom release date: July 2019.
        Post-jail restrictions

      The 12 individuals (all of them Sunni Muslim men) under often vague bans on conducting specific activity (related to the exercise of freedom of religion or belief) now their prison term has ended. This is almost certainly an underestimate, as many such post-prison bans do not become public. Listed in reverse order of when such bans expire.

      1) Baurzhan Beisembai; Sunni Muslim; born 29 March 1982; arrested 1 August 2016; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1 and Part 2; two and a half years' imprisonment in general regime labour camp, plus five year ban on exercise of religious freedom. Expected end of post-prison ban: February 2024.

      2) Zhumabai Shaikhyuly Nurpeyis; Sunni Muslim; born 23 July 1961; arrested November 2016; sentenced 28 June 2017 Atyrau City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 29 August 2017 Atyrau Regional Court; 2 year prison term, plus 2 or 3 year post-prison ban on exercise of religious freedom. Expected end of post-prison ban: November 2020 or November 2021.

      3) Nurlan Amangeldyevich Ibrayev; Sunni Muslim; born 24 March 1977; arrested November 2016; sentenced 28 June 2017 Atyrau City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 29 August 2017 Atyrau Regional Court; 2 year prison term, plus 2 or 3 year post-prison ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: November 2020 or November 2021.

      4) Kanat Serikovich Shaigozhanov; Sunni Muslim; born 30 November 1984; arrested November 2016; sentenced 28 June 2017 Atyrau City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 29 August 2017 Atyrau Regional Court; 2 year prison term, plus 2 or 3 year post-prison ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: November 2020 or November 2021.

      5) Nuralim Archiyevich Tyupeyev; Sunni Muslim; born 13 November 1962; arrested November 2016; sentenced 28 June 2017 Atyrau City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 29 August 2017 Atyrau Regional Court; 2 year prison term, plus 2 or 3 year post-prison ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: November 2020 or November 2021.

      6) Ermek Tursynbayevich Akhmetov; Sunni Muslim; born 18 March 1964; arrested November 2016; sentenced 28 June 2017 Atyrau City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 29 August 2017 Atyrau Regional Court; 2 year prison term, plus 2 or 3 year post-prison ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: November 2020 or November 2021.

      7) Furkhat Farkhadovich Abatayev; Sunni Muslim; born 27 January 1965; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 4 April 2017 Sairam District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year imprisonment, plus two-year post-prison ban on ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: April 2020.

      😎 Abdivasit Abdikakharovich Abdirazakov; Sunni Muslim; born 28 August 1965; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 4 April 2017 Sairam District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year imprisonment, plus two-year post-prison ban on ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: April 2020.

      9) Murodzhon Abdivakhabovich Abdullayev; Sunni Muslim; born 21 January 1969; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 4 April 2017 Sairam District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year imprisonment, plus two-year post-prison ban on ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: April 2020.

      10) Zhenisbek Erakhmetovich Manbetov; Sunni Muslim; born 16 July 1983; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 4 April 2017 Sairam District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year imprisonment, plus two-year post-prison ban on ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: April 2020.

      11) Meirambek Amalbekuli Sarymsak; Sunni Muslim; born 8 March 1965; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 4 April 2017 Sairam District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year imprisonment, plus two-year post-prison ban on ban on exercise of religious freedom, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: April 2020.

      12) Estai Kanatbekovich Dzhakayev; Sunni Muslim; born 17 May 1978; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 11 March 2016 Alakol District Court, Almaty Region; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; no appeal; 3 years' imprisonment, plus post-prison ban on ban on exercise of religious freedom of unknown duration, plus bank accounts blocked. Expected end of post-prison ban: unknown.
        Bank accounts still blocked

      The 29 individuals known to have their bank accounts still blocked although they have completed their sentences (and possibly an additional post-jailing ban on specific activity). It is possible some of these are still serving post-jailing bans.

      1) Abdumazhit Kopurovich Abdullayev; Sunni Muslim; born 21 January 1968; arrested 8 July 2016; sentenced 28 December 2016 Almaty Region's Zhambyl District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 28 February 2017; 2 and a half years' prison. Bank accounts still blocked.

      2) Serzhan Dalelkhanovich Akhmetov; Sunni Muslim; born 20 June 1982; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; one year's imprisonment in a work camp. Bank accounts still blocked.

      3) Darkhan Baurzhanovich Amrenev; Sunni Muslim; born 29 December 1988; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; one year of restricted freedom. Bank accounts still blocked.

      4) Orazbek Kabdrashovich Apakashev; Sunni Muslim; born 3 November 1971; arrested 22 February 2015; sentenced 29 September 2015 Temirtau City Court, Karaganda Region; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 3 years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      5) Asimtulla Rakhimtullayevich Baiturynov; Sunni Muslim; born 1 September 1971; arrested 8 July 2016; sentenced 28 December 2016 Almaty Region's Zhambyl District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 28 February 2017; 1 and a half years' prison. Bank accounts still blocked.

      6) Baurzhan Beisembai; Sunni Muslim; born 29 March 1982; arrested 1 August 2016; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1 and Part 2; 2 and a half years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      7) Parkhat Abdilgafurovich Gafurov; Sunni Muslim; born 15 November 1977; arrested 8 July 2016; sentenced 28 December 2016 Almaty Region's Zhambyl District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 28 February 2017; 2 years' prison. Bank accounts still blocked.

      😎 Kublandy Urazbayevich Isatayev; Sunni Muslim; born 23 February 1977; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 6 October 2016 Aktobe Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; no appeal; 1 year's imprisonment, to be served in a work camp. Bank accounts still blocked.

      9) Yklas Kairullinovich Kabduakasov; Seventh-day Adventist; born 19 February 1961; Seventh-day Adventist; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1; sentenced 28 December 2015 Astana City Court; two years' imprisonment, plus book destruction. Bank accounts still blocked.

      10) Rauan Kuanganovich Karagyzov; Sunni Muslim; born 21 March 1986; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; one and a half years' imprisonment in a general regime labour camp. Bank accounts still blocked.

      11) Khalambakhi Khalym; born 12 August 1984; Sunni Muslim; arrested 23 September 2015; sentenced 18 February 2016 Astana's Saryarka District Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2, Article 174, Part 1; 2 and a half years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      12) Oralgazhi Omarkhanovich Koshtybayev; Sunni Muslim; born 2 October 1966; arrested 8 July 2016; sentenced 28 December 2016 Almaty Region's Zhambyl District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Parts 1 and 2; appeal rejected 28 February 2017; 1 and a half years' prison. Bank accounts still blocked.

      13) Bolatbek Kambarovich Kozhageldinov; Sunni Muslim; born 30 June 1977; arrested 23 September 2015; sentenced 18 February 2016 Astana's Saryarka District Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 2 years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      14) Darkhan Bekovich Kunapyanov; Sunni Muslim; born 21 August 1978; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; 1 year of restricted freedom. Bank accounts still blocked.

      15) Rustam Imenzhanovich Musayev; Sunni Muslim; born 17 April 1985; arrested 4 April 2016; sentenced 1 June 2016 Karasai District Court; Criminal Code Article 174, Part 1; no appeal; 2 years' imprisonment in general regime labour camp, plus 35,890 Tenge fee. Bank accounts still blocked.

      16) Nurzhan Beisembayevich Nuradilov; Sunni Muslim; born 13 January 1980; arrested 23 September 2015; sentenced 18 February 2016 Astana's Saryarka District Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 2 years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      17) Erbolat Kabzakievich Omarbekov; Sunni Muslim; born 10 July 1971; arrested 23 September 2015; sentenced 18 February 2016 Astana's Saryarka District Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 2 years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      18) Eldos Mukhametkarimovich Otarbayev; Sunni Muslim; born 15 August 1986; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; one year's imprisonment in a work camp. Bank accounts still blocked.

      19) Bauyrzhan Omirzhanovich Serikov; Sunni Muslim; born 20 November 1977; arrested 7 October 2015; sentenced 28 March 2016 Karaganda's Kazybek Bi District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 2 years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      20) Aidin Zulfukarovich Shakentayev; Sunni Muslim; born 15 August 1982; arrested 7 October 2015; sentenced 28 March 2016 Karaganda's Kazybek Bi District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 2 and a half years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      21) Murat Askarovich Shopenov; Sunni Muslim; born 15 November 1982; arrested 7 October 2015; sentenced 28 March 2016 Karaganda's Kazybek Bi District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 2 years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      22) Ulan Torekhanovich Smagulov; Sunni Muslim; born 25 August 1957; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; one and a half years' imprisonment in general regime labour camp. Bank accounts still blocked.

      23) Vakha Novlievich Surkhayev; Sunni Muslim; born 28 March 1963; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 11 March 2016 Alakol District Court, Almaty Region; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 1 year, 3 months' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      24) Murat Kazbekovich Takaumov; Sunni Muslim; born 14 November 1984; arrested 18 November 2015; sentenced 2 June 2016 Astana's Saryarka District Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; 9 months' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      25) Serik Kairbekovich Tastanbekov; Sunni Muslim; born 4 October 1971; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; one and a half years' imprisonment in general regime labour camp. Bank accounts still blocked.

      26) Duman Dautkanovich Toleukhanov; Sunni Muslim; born 24 October 1975; arrested at end of trial; sentenced 10 October 2016 Oskemen City Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; one and a half years' imprisonment in general regime labour camp. Bank accounts still blocked.

      27) Mamurzhan Rashidovich Turashov; Sunni Muslim; born 24 April 1973; arrest date unknown; sentenced 2 December 2014 Sairam District Court, South Kazakhstan Region; Article 337-1, Part 1 of old Criminal Code (equivalent of Article 405 of current Criminal Code); 3 years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      28) Kubaidolla Abishevich Tyulyubayev; Sunni Muslim; born 6 August 1962; arrested 28 September 2015; sentenced 18 February 2016 Astana's Saryarka District Court No. 2; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 1; 2 years' imprisonment. Bank accounts still blocked.

      29) Zholbarys Kaipbayevich Zhumanazarov; Sunni Muslim; born 3 August 1959; arrested unknown; sentenced 28 December 2017 Karasai District Court; Criminal Code Article 405, Part 2; 1 year prison term, plus 56,174 Tenge fee, plus bank accounts blocked. Bank accounts still blocked. (END)

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    • Eric Ouellet

      CHANTONS À JÉHOVAH UN CHANT NOUVEAU
      Il est bon de rendre grâces à Jéhovah
      et d’exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom, ô Très-Haut !
      D’annoncer ta bonté de cœur le matin
      et ta fidélité pendant les nuits,
      sur un instrument à dix cordes et sur le luth,
      aux accords sonores de la harpe.
      Car tu m’as réjoui, ô Jéhovah, à cause de ton action ;
      à cause des œuvres de tes mains je pousse des cris de joie.
      Que tes œuvres sont grandes, ô Jéhovah !
      Tes pensées sont très profondes.
      L’homme dépourvu de raison ne peut les connaître,
      et le stupide ne peut comprendre cela.
      Quand les méchants germent comme la végétation
      et que fleurissent tous ceux qui 
      pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant,
      c’est pour être anéantis pour toujours.
      Mais toi, tu es là-haut pour des temps indéfinis, ô Jéhovah!
      Car voici que tes ennemis, ô Jéhovah,
      car voici que tes ennemis périront;
      tous ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant seront séparés les uns des autres.
      Mais tu élèveras ma corne comme celle du taureau sauvage;
      je m’arroserai d’huile fraîche.
      Mon œil regardera mes ennemis;
      mes oreilles entendront parler de ceux
      qui se dressent contre moi, les malfaiteurs.
      Le juste fleurira comme un palmier ;
      il grandira comme un cèdre du Liban.
      Ceux qui sont plantés dans la maison de Jéhovah,
      dans les cours de notre Dieu — ils fleuriront.
      Ils prospéreront encore durant les cheveux gris,
      ils resteront gras et frais,
      pour annoncer que Jéhovah est droit.
      Il est mon Rocher, Celui en qui il n’y a pas d’injustice.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi!
      De grandeur il est vêtu ;
      Jéhovah est vêtu de force Il s’est ceint.
      Le sol productif aussi s’établit solidement
      de sorte qu’il ne peut chanceler.
      Ton trône est solidement établi depuis les temps anciens ;
      tu es depuis des temps indéfinis.
      Les fleuves ont fait retentir, ô Jéhovah,
      les fleuves ont fait retentir leur bruit ;
      les fleuves sans arrêt font retentir leur fracas.
      Par-dessus les bruits des eaux immenses,
      des vagues majestueuses de la mer qui déferlent,
      Jéhovah est majestueux dans les hauteurs.
      Tes rappels se sont révélés très dignes de foi.
      La sainteté convient à ta maison, ô Jéhovah,
      pour la longueur des jours.
      Ô Dieu aux actes de vengeance
      Jéhovah , ô Dieu aux actes de vengeance, apparais.
      Lève-toi, ô Juge de la terre!
      Fais revenir la rétribution sur les orgueilleux.
      Jusqu’à quand les méchants, ô Jéhovah,
      jusqu’à quand les méchants vont-ils exulter ?
      Sans cesse ils font jaillir un flot de paroles,
      sans cesse ils parlent avec audace;
      sans cesse ils se vantent, 
      tous ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant.
      Ton peuple, ô Jéhovah, ils continuent à l’écraser,
      et ton héritage, ils continuent à l’affliger.
      Ils tuent la veuve et le résident étranger,
      ils assassinent les orphelins de père.
      Et ils continuent à dire : “ Yah ne voit pas;
      le Dieu de Jacob ne le comprend pas. ”
      Comprenez donc, vous qui êtes dépourvus de raison parmi le peuple;
      et vous, stupides, quand serez-vous perspicaces ?
      Celui qui plante l’oreille, est-ce qu’il ne peut pas entendre ?
      Ou Celui qui forme l’œil, est-ce qu’il ne peut pas regarder ?
      Celui qui corrige les nations, 
      est-ce qu’il ne peut pas reprendre,
      oui Celui qui enseigne la connaissance aux hommes?
      Jéhovah connaît les pensées des hommes,
      il sait qu’elles sont comme une vapeur.
      Heureux l’homme robuste que tu corriges, ô Yah,
      et que tu enseignes par ta loi,
      pour lui donner le calme aux jours du malheur,
      jusqu’à ce qu’une fosse soit creusée pour le méchant.
      Car Jéhovah n’abandonnera pas son peuple,
      et il ne quittera pas son héritage.
      Car la décision judiciaire retournera à la justice,
      et tous ceux qui ont le cœur droit la suivront.
      Qui se dressera pour moi contre les malfaiteurs?
      Qui se postera pour moi contre ceux qui pratiquent ce qui est malfaisant ?
      Si Jéhovah ne m’était venu en aide,
      sous peu mon âme aurait résidé dans le silence.
      Lorsque j’ai dit : “ À coup sûr, mon pied chancellera ”,
      ta bonté de cœur, ô Jéhovah, m’a soutenu sans relâche.
      Quand mes pensées troublantes se multiplièrent au-dedans de moi,
      tes consolations se mirent à cajoler mon âme.
      Sera-t-il allié à toi, le trône qui cause des adversités,
      tandis qu’il façonne le malheur par décret ?
      Ils lancent de vives attaques contre l’âme du juste
      et déclarent coupable le sang de l’innocent.
      Mais Jéhovah deviendra pour moi une hauteur sûre,
      et mon Dieu, le rocher de mon refuge.
      Il ramènera sur eux leurs méfaits
      et les réduira au silence par leur malheur.
      Jéhovah notre Dieu les réduira au silence.
      Oh ! venez, poussons des cris de joie vers Jéhovah !
      Poussons des cris de triomphe vers notre Rocher de salut.
      Présentons-nous devant sa personne avec des actions de grâces;
      avec des mélodies poussons vers lui des cris de triomphe.
      Car Jéhovah est un grand Dieu
      et un grand Roi au-dessus de tous les autres dieux,
      lui en la main de qui sont les profondeurs 
      les plus secrètes de la terre
      et à qui appartiennent les cimes des montagnes;
      lui à qui appartient la mer qu’il a faite
      et dont les mains ont formé la terre ferme.
      Oh ! entrez, adorons et courbons-nous!
      Agenouillons nous devant Jéhovah notre Auteur.
      Car il est notre Dieu, et nous sommes le peuple
      de son pâturage et les brebis de sa main.
      Aujourd’hui, si vous écoutez sa voix,
      n’endurcissez pas votre cœur comme à Meriba,
      comme au jour de Massa dans le désert,
      quand vos ancêtres m’ont mis à l’épreuve ;
      ils m’ont examiné, ils ont aussi vu mon action.
      Pendant quarante ans j’ai éprouvé du dégoût pour cette génération,
      alors j’ai dit :
      “ C’est un peuple au cœur errant,
      et ils n’ont pas appris à connaître mes voies ” ;
      à propos de qui j’ai juré dans ma colère:
      “ Ils n’entreront pas dans mon lieu de repos
      Chantez pour Jéhovah un chant nouveau.
      Chantez pour Jéhovah, vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Chantez pour Jéhovah, bénissez son nom.
      De jour en jour annoncez la bonne nouvelle de son salut.
      Proclamez parmi les nations sa gloire,
      parmi tous les peuples ses œuvres prodigieuses."
      Car Jéhovah est grand et on doit le louer infiniment.
      Il est redoutable par-dessus tous les autres dieux.
      Car tous les dieux des peuples sont des dieux sans valeur ;
      mais Jéhovah, lui, a fait les cieux.
      Dignité et splendeur sont devant lui;
      force et beauté sont dans son sanctuaire.
      Attribuez à Jéhovah, ô familles des peuples,
      attribuez à Jéhovah gloire et force.
      Attribuez à Jéhovah la gloire qui appartient à son nom;
      portez un don et entrez dans ses cours.
      Prosternez-vous devant Jéhovah en ornements sacrés;
      soyez dans de violentes douleurs à cause de lui, 
      vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Dites parmi les nations :
       “ Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi."
      Le sol productif aussi s’établit solidement,
      de sorte qu’il ne peut chanceler.
      Il va plaider la cause des peuples avec droiture. 
      Que les cieux se réjouissent, et que la terre soit en joie.
      Que gronde la mer et ce qui la remplit.
      Qu’exulte la campagne et tout ce qui s’y trouve.
      Qu’en même temps tous les arbres de la forêt 
      poussent des cris de joie devant Jéhovah. 
      Car il est venu ;
      car il est venu pour juger la terre.
      Il jugera le sol productif avec justice
      et les peuples avec sa fidélité.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi ! 
      Que la terre soit en joie.
      Que les îles nombreuses se réjouissent
      Des nuages et une obscurité épaisse sont tout autour de lui;
      justice et jugement sont le lieu fixe de son trône.
      Devant lui marche un feu,
      il consume ses adversaires tout autour.
      Ses éclairs ont illuminé le sol productif ;
      la terre a vu, elle a été prise de violentes douleur.
      Alors les montagnes ont fondu
      comme de la cire à cause de Jéhovah,
      à cause du Seigneur de toute la terre.
      Les cieux ont annoncé sa justice,
      et tous les peuples ont vu sa gloire.
      Qu’ils soient honteux,
      tous ceux qui servent quelque image sculptée,
      ceux qui se glorifient en des dieux sans valeur.
      Prosternez-vous devant lui, vous tous les dieux !
      Sion a entendu et s’est alors réjouie,
      et les localités qui dépendent de Juda sont devenues joyeuses
      à cause de tes décisions judiciaires, ô Jéhovah !
      Car toi, ô Jéhovah, tu es le Très-Haut sur toute la terre ;
      tu es très haut dans ta montée par-dessus tous les autres dieux.
      Ô vous qui aimez Jéhovah,
      haïssez ce qui est mauvais.
      Il garde les âmes de ses fidèles;
      de la main des méchants il les délivre.
      La lumière est apparue pour le juste,
      et la joie pour ceux qui ont le cœur droit.
      Réjouissez-vous en Jéhovah, ô vous les justes,
      et rendez grâces à son saint mémorial.
      Chantez pour Jéhovah un chant nouveau,
      car prodigieuses sont les choses qu’il a faites.
      Sa droite, oui son saint bras, lui a procuré le salut.
      Jéhovah a fait connaître son salut;
      aux yeux des nations il a révélé sa justice.
      Il s’est souvenu de sa bonté de cœur et de sa fidélité
      envers la maison d’Israël.
      Toutes les extrémités de la terre ont vu le salut de notre Dieu.
      Poussez des cris de triomphe vers Jéhovah, vous tous, gens de la terre !
      Égayez-vous et poussez des cris de joie et exécutez des mélodies.
      Exécutez des mélodies pour Jéhovah avec la harpe,
      avec la harpe et la voix de la mélodie.
      Avec les trompettes et au son du cor,
      poussez des cris de triomphe devant le Roi, 
      JÉHOVAH.
      Que gronde la mer et ce qui la remplit,
      le sol productif et ceux qui y habitent.
      Que les fleuves battent des mains ;
      que toutes ensemble les montagnes poussent
      des cris de joie devant Jéhovah
      car il est venu pour juger la terre.
      Il jugera le sol productif avec justice
      et les peuples avec droiture.
      Jéhovah lui-même est devenu roi.
      Que les peuples s’agitent.
      Il siège sur les chérubins. 
      Que la terre frémisse.
      Jéhovah est grand dans Sion, et il est élevé
      par-dessus tous les peuples.
      Qu’ils louent ton nom.
      Grand et redoutable, celui-ci est saint.
      Avec une force de roi il a aimé le jugement.
      C’est toi qui as solidement établi la droiture.
      Le jugement et la justice en Jacob, c’est toi qui les as réalisés.
      Exaltez Jéhovah notre Dieu et prosternez-vous
      devant son marchepied ; Car Il est Saint.
      Moïse et Aaron étaient parmi ses prêtres,
      et Samuel parmi ceux qui invoquaient son nom.
      Ils appelaient Jéhovah, et lui leur répondait.
      Dans la colonne de nuage il leur parlait.
      Ils gardaient ses rappels et la prescription qu’il leur avait donnée.
      Ô Jéhovah notre Dieu, tu leur répondais toi-même.
      Tu as été pour eux un Dieu qui pardonne,
      mais qui exécutait la vengeance
      contre leurs actions scandaleuses.
      Exaltez Jéhovah notre Dieu
      et prosternez-vous à sa montagne saint.
      Car Jéhovah notre Dieu est saint.

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric merci pour ce bon condensé sur les vœux. Bonne journée et à bientôt. Michel
      b-13-sculptures-de-givre-ggo-wp1.ppsx
      · 1 reply
    • Eric Ouellet

      « Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte toi de se voeux sans renoncer »
      « Tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux » (MATTHIEU 5:33).
      YIPHTAH était un chef et un guerrier courageux. Hanna était une femme humble qui prenait soin de son mari et de sa famille. Tous les deux adoraient Jéhovah. Mais ils ont un autre point commun : ils ont fait un vœu à Jéhovah et ils l’ont respecté fidèlement. Ils sont d’excellents exemples pour les chrétiens qui décident de faire des vœux à Jéhovah. Répondons maintenant à ces trois questions : Qu’est-ce qu’un vœu ? Faire un vœu à Jéhovah, est-ce sérieux ? Quelles leçons tirer des histoires de Yiphtah et de Hanna ?
      Dans la Bible, un vœu est une promesse sérieuse faite à Jéhovah. Par exemple, la promesse de faire quelque chose, d’offrir quelque chose, de commencer un certain service, ou de ne pas faire certaines choses. On fait un vœu volontairement, en utilisant sa liberté de choix. Personne n’est obligé de faire un vœu. Mais si on décide d’en faire un, Jéhovah le considère comme une promesse dont on doit s’acquitter. D’après la Bible, un vœu est aussi important qu’un serment. Un serment, c’est quand une personne jure de faire ou de ne pas faire quelque chose (Genèse 14:22, 23 ; Hébreux 6:16, 17). Que dit la Bible à propos du sérieux des vœux faits à Jéhovah ?
      Dans la Loi de Moïse, on lit que si quelqu’un fait un vœu à Jéhovah, « il ne doit pas violer (trahir) sa parole. Il fera selon tout ce qui est sorti de sa bouche » (Nombres 30:2). Plus tard, Salomon a écrit : « Quand tu fais un vœu à Dieu, n’hésite pas à t’en acquitter, car il n’y a aucun plaisir dans les stupides. Le vœu que tu fais, acquitte-t’en » (Ecclésiaste 5:4). Plus tard encore, Jésus a enseigné qu’un vœu fait à Jéhovah est quelque chose de sérieux, en rappelant : « Il a été dit à ceux des temps anciens : “Tu ne dois pas jurer sans tenir [parole], mais tu dois t’acquitter envers Jéhovah de tes vœux” » (Matthieu 5:33).
      C’est donc clair qu’il faut prendre très au sérieux toute promesse qu’on fait à Jéhovah. Respecter ou non nos vœux a des conséquences sur notre relation avec lui. Un jour, David a demandé : « Qui pourra monter à la montagne de Jéhovah, et qui pourra se lever en son lieu saint », autrement dit être accepté par Jéhovah ? Il a répondu que c’est celui qui ne fait pas de « serment avec tromperie » (Psaume 24:3, 4). Mais quels vœux Yiphtah et Hanna ont-ils faits ? Cela a-t-il été facile pour eux de s’en acquitter ?
      ILS SE SONT ACQUITTÉS DE LEURS VŒUX
      Yiphtah a fait sa promesse à Jéhovah avant de combattre les Ammonites, des ennemis du peuple de Jéhovah (Juges 10:7-9). Il a fait ce vœu (en résumé) : « Si vraiment tu me donnes la victoire, voici ce qui devra arriver : quand je reviendrai en paix de chez les fils d’Ammôn, la personne qui sortira de ma maison à ma rencontre, celle-là devra alors t’appartenir. » Jéhovah a répondu à la prière de Yiphtah en l’aidant à gagner la guerre. Quand Yiphtah est rentré chez lui, sa fille chérie est sortie vers lui. Ce serait donc elle qui « appartiendrait à Jéhovah » (Juges 11:30-34). Qu’est-ce que cela allait changer pour elle ?
      Pour respecter le vœu de Yiphtah, sa fille devrait partir servir Jéhovah à plein temps au tabernacle. Yiphtah avait-il fait son vœu sans réfléchir ? Non. Il savait sans doute que sa fille pourrait être la première personne à sortir vers lui. Mais qu’il l’ait su ou pas, cela n’a pas été facile pour lui de respecter son vœu, et pour sa fille non plus. En effet, en la voyant sortir, il a dit que cela lui causait un grand chagrin. Et elle, elle est partie « pleurer sur sa virginité ». Pourquoi ont-ils pleuré ? Yiphtah n’avait pas de fils, et maintenant sa fille unique ne se marierait jamais et n’aurait pas d’enfant. Le nom de famille de Yiphtah disparaîtrait. Mais tous les deux comprenaient que le plus important, ce n’étaient pas leurs sentiments. Yiphtah a dit : « J’ai ouvert ma bouche pour Jéhovah ; je ne [peux pas] revenir en arrière. » Et sa fille a répondu : « Fais-moi selon ce qui est sorti de ta bouche » (Juges 11:35-39). Tous les deux étaient des personnes fidèles : ils n’auraient jamais eu l’idée de casser un vœu fait à Jéhovah, même si c’était difficile de le respecter (lire Deutéronome 23:21, 23 ; Psaume 15:4).
      Hanna aussi a fait un vœu à Jéhovah dans un moment difficile de sa vie. Elle était malheureuse parce qu’elle ne pouvait pas avoir d’enfants, et qu’à cause de cela elle subissait des remarques méchantes (1 Samuel 1:4-7, 10, 16). En exprimant ses sentiments à Jéhovah, elle lui a fait cette promesse : « Ô Jéhovah des armées, si tu ne manques pas de regarder l’affliction (le chagrin) de ton esclave et si vraiment tu te souviens de moi, si tu n’oublies pas ton esclave et si vraiment tu donnes à ton esclave un descendant mâle, oui je le donnerai à Jéhovah pour tous les jours de sa vie, et le rasoir ne viendra pas sur sa tête. » (1 Samuel 1:11). Jéhovah a répondu à sa prière : l’année suivante elle a eu un fils, Samuel. Elle était très heureuse ! Mais elle n’a pas oublié le vœu qu’elle avait fait à Jéhovah. Après la naissance de son fils, elle a dit : « C’est à Jéhovah que je l’ai demandé » (1 Samuel 1:20).
      Quand Samuel a eu environ trois ans, Hanna a tenu sa promesse. Elle a amené Samuel au grand prêtre Éli, en disant : « C’est à propos de ce garçon que je priais, pour que Jéhovah m’accorde [...] ce que je lui demandais. Et moi, à mon tour, je l’ai prêté à Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 1:24-28). À partir de ce jour-là, Samuel a habité au tabernacle. La Bible dit que « le garçon Samuel grandissait auprès de Jéhovah » (1 Samuel 2:21). Cela n’allait pas être facile pour Hanna de respecter son vœu. Elle ne pourrait plus passer du temps chaque jour avec son fils qu’elle aimait tendrement. Ce serait dur de ne pas le voir grandir. Mais elle a pris son vœu au sérieux. Pour tenir sa promesse, elle a accepté volontiers de sacrifier des choses qui étaient importantes pour elle (1 Samuel 2:1, 2 ; lire Psaume 61:1, 5, 8).
      Parmi les vœux faits à Jéhovah, il y a le vœu de l’offrande de soi, le vœu du mariage et le vœu des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps
      T’acquittes-tu de tes vœux envers Jéhovah ?
      LE VŒU DE L’OFFRANDE DE SOI
      Le vœu le plus grand qu’un chrétien puisse faire, c’est celui de s’offrir à Jéhovah pour toute la vie. Dans une prière personnelle, ce chrétien promet à Jéhovah d’utiliser sa vie pour le servir pour toujours, quoi qu’il arrive. En faisant ce vœu, il « se renie lui-même » : il promet de donner la plus grande importance non pas à lui-même, mais à Jéhovah (Matthieu 16:24). À partir de ce moment, il appartient à Jéhovah (Romains 14:8). Il prend au sérieux son vœu d’offrande de soi. Il pense comme l’écrivain des Psaumes qui a dit : « Que rendrai-je à Jéhovah pour tous ses bienfaits envers moi ? Je m’acquitterai de mes vœux envers Jéhovah, oui devant tout son peuple » (Psaume 116:12, 14).
      As-tu fait le vœu d’offrir ta vie à Jéhovah, et l’as-tu montré en te faisant baptiser dans l’eau ? Si oui, félicitations ! Rappelle-toi le discours de ton baptême. Le frère t’a demandé si tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah, et si tu comprenais qu’en te faisant baptiser, tu montrais « que tu devenais Témoin de Jéhovah ». En entendant ton « oui », tous les assistants ont compris que tu avais offert ta vie à Jéhovah et que tu pouvais te faire baptiser ministre ordonné de Jéhovah. Tu as certainement fait très plaisir à Jéhovah !
      Quand tu t’es fait baptiser, tu as promis à Jéhovah d’utiliser ta vie pour le servir, et de tout faire pour obéir à ses normes. Mais le baptême n’est qu’un début. Le temps passant, on doit tous continuer à s’examiner. Alors, demande-toi : « Ma relation avec Jéhovah est-elle de plus en plus forte depuis mon baptême ? Est-ce que je le sers toujours de tout mon cœur ? (Colossiens 3:23). Est-ce que je prie souvent ? Est-ce que je lis la Bible tous les jours ? Est-ce que j’assiste régulièrement aux réunions de la congrégation ? Est-ce que je prêche aussi souvent que possible ? Ou, au contraire, est-ce que j’ai perdu un peu de mon envie de faire ces activités ? » D’après l’apôtre Pierre, pour ne pas devenir inactifs dans notre service pour Jéhovah, nous devons nous efforcer de faire grandir en nous la foi, la connaissance, l’endurance et l’attachement à Jéhovah (lire 2 Pierre 1:5-8).
      Une fois que quelqu’un a prononcé le vœu de servir Jéhovah, il ne peut pas reprendre sa parole. S’il en a assez de servir Jéhovah ou de vivre en chrétien, il ne peut pas dire : « Je n’ai jamais vraiment offert ma vie à Jéhovah ; mon baptême n’était pas valable* » (lire la note). Si un chrétien commet un péché grave alors qu’il s’est offert à Jéhovah, il est responsable de sa conduite devant Jéhovah et la congrégation (Romains 14:12). Nous ne voulons pas ressembler aux chrétiens à qui Jésus a dit : « Tu as laissé l’amour que tu avais au début. » Au contraire, nous voulons qu’il puisse nous dire : « Je connais tes actions, et ton amour, et ta foi, et ton ministère, et ton endurance, et je sais que tes actions récentes sont plus nombreuses que celles d’autrefois » (Révélation 2:4, 19). Nous voulons faire plaisir à Jéhovah en nous acquittant avec zèle de notre vœu.
      LE VŒU DU MARIAGE
      Des mariés échangent leurs vœux de mariage
      Le deuxième vœu le plus important qu’on puisse faire, c’est celui du mariage. Le mariage est sacré. Jéhovah considère ce vœu comme quelque chose de très sérieux. Quand des mariés prononcent leurs vœux, ils font une promesse devant Jéhovah et devant les personnes présentes. Ils se promettent de s’aimer, de se chérir et de se respecter l’un l’autre aussi longtemps qu’ils vivront ensemble sur la terre dans le cadre du mariage tel qu’il a été institué par Dieu. Quelles que soient les paroles exactes que les mariés se disent, dans tous les cas, ce sont des vœux faits devant Jéhovah. En les faisant, ils deviennent mari et femme. Le mariage doit être une union pour toute la vie (Genèse 2:24 ; 1 Corinthiens 7:39). Jésus a dit que personne ne doit séparer ce que Jéhovah a uni (Marc 10:9). Un homme et une femme qui se marient ne doivent pas se dire que, si leur union ne marche pas, ils pourront toujours divorcer.
      Bien sûr, il n’y a pas de mariage parfait puisqu’il n’y a pas d’humain parfait. C’est pourquoi la Bible dit que toute personne mariée aura parfois « des tribulations (des problèmes) » (1 Corinthiens 7:28). Dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, beaucoup ne prennent pas le mariage au sérieux. Ils pensent : « Si ça ne marche pas, on pourra toujours divorcer. » Mais les chrétiens ne considèrent pas le mariage de cette façon. Ils sont conscients qu’ils ont prononcé leur vœu de mariage devant Jéhovah. S’ils cassaient leur vœu, ce serait comme s’ils lui mentaient. Or Jéhovah déteste les menteurs ! (Lévitique 19:12 ; Proverbes 6:16-19). Les chrétiens mariés doivent se rappeler ces paroles de l’apôtre Paul : « Es-tu lié à une femme ? Cesse (arrête) de chercher à t’en détacher » (1 Corinthiens 7:27). Paul a pu dire cela parce qu’il savait que Jéhovah déteste aussi les divorces quand ils sont des trahisons (Malaki 2:13-16).
      Jésus a enseigné que la seule situation qui donne une raison de divorcer, c’est lorsqu’un mari ou une femme commet l’adultère (est infidèle à son conjoint) et que le conjoint innocent décide de ne pas lui pardonner (Matthieu 19:9 ; Hébreux 13:4). Par ailleurs, peut-on se séparer de son conjoint ? La Bible est claire à ce sujet aussi (lire 1 Corinthiens 7:10, 11). Il n’existe pas de raison biblique de se séparer de son conjoint. Mais parfois un chrétien (ou une chrétienne) pense que c’est absolument nécessaire. Par exemple, il est sûr que sa vie ou sa relation avec Jéhovah seront en très grand danger s’il reste avec un conjoint violent.
      Si des conjoints demandent conseil aux anciens de la congrégation pour rendre leur couple plus solide, les anciens pourraient leur demander s’ils ont regardé la vidéo Qu’est-ce que le vrai amour ? et s’ils ont étudié la brochure Le secret des familles heureuses. Ces documents montrent quels principes bibliques peuvent rendre un mariage plus solide. Des Témoins racontent : « Depuis que nous étudions cette brochure, notre couple est plus heureux que jamais. » Une sœur mariée depuis 22 ans pensait que son mariage allait bientôt se briser. Mais elle a regardé la vidéo. Elle raconte : « Nous sommes tous les deux baptisés, mais sur le plan affectif nous étions complètement différents. La vidéo est arrivée au bon moment ! Maintenant, notre couple va beaucoup mieux. » Vraiment, si un mari et une femme appliquent les conseils de Jéhovah, leur union devient plus heureuse et plus forte.
      LE VŒU DES SERVITEURS SPÉCIAUX À PLEIN TEMPS
      Au début de l’article, nous avons parlé des vœux de Yiphtah et de Hanna. Grâce à ces vœux, la fille de Yiphtah et le fils de Hanna ont passé leur vie à servir Jéhovah d’une façon spéciale. À notre époque, beaucoup de parents chrétiens ont encouragé leurs enfants à s’engager dans le ministère à plein temps et à concentrer leur vie sur le service pour Jéhovah. En fait, nous pouvons tous encourager ces jeunes frères et sœurs à tenir bon dans leur service (Juges 11:40 ; Psaume 110:3).
      Aujourd’hui, il y a des dizaines de milliers de membres de l’Ordre international des serviteurs spéciaux à plein temps des Témoins de Jéhovah. Certains servent au Béthel, ou dans l’activité de construction ou alors dans le service de la circonscription. D’autres sont formateurs aux écoles bibliques, pionniers spéciaux, missionnaires, ou serviteurs affectés à une Salle d’assemblées ou à un centre d’écoles bibliques. Ils ont tous fait un « Vœu d’obéissance et de pauvreté ». En le faisant, ils ont promis de concentrer leurs efforts sur toute activité qu’on leur donne au service de Jéhovah, d’avoir une vie simple, et de ne pas avoir un emploi payé s’ils n’en ont pas l’autorisation. Ce ne sont pas les personnes qui sont considérées comme spéciales, mais leurs activités. Ces chrétiens sont humbles, et ils sont décidés à s’acquitter de leur vœu tout le temps qu’ils resteront dans le service spécial à plein temps.
      Dans cet article, nous avons étudié trois vœux qu’un chrétien pourrait faire aujourd’hui à Jéhovah. Peut-être que tu en as fait un, ou deux, ou les trois. Nous savons que nous devons prendre nos vœux au sérieux et tout faire pour les respecter (Proverbes 20:25). Si nous ne respectons pas nos vœux faits à Jéhovah, les conséquences risquent d’être graves (Ecclésiaste 5:6). Faisons donc comme le psalmiste qui a dit à Jéhovah : « Je veux exécuter des mélodies pour ton nom à jamais (pour toujours), pour m’acquitter de mes vœux jour après jour » (Psaume 61:8).


      · 0 replies
    • K625XM

      Hello Twyla,
      I am not able to view the study materials.  Can you help me out pls ?  Thank you.
      · 0 replies
    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour ma sœur Misette. Comment vas-tu ? J'espère avec l'aide de Jéhovah toute la communauté et especialement toi vont bien. 
      Je n'ai pas reçu la réunion de cette semaine, est-ce qu'il y a un problème pour cette semaine ? 
           Bonne journée ou soirée 
                                   Agape 
      · 3 replies
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