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Conscientious objectors face indefinite prison sentence for refusing to renounce faith

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by JW-Media.org

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan—Prison officials are threatening to indefinitely extend the prison terms for three of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are prisoners of conscience in Uzbekistan. All three were sentenced for “unauthorized religious activities” that ranged from studying the Bible in a private home to merely talking about the Bible with others. While serving their sentences, all of them were visited by a prison official and told that they would not be released at the end of their terms unless they renounced their faith.

Olim Turayev is a 38-year-old medical doctor from Samarkand and a father of three small children. He has been serving a four-year prison sentence since April 25, 2008. On August 12, 2009, Turayev’s attorney filed an appeal for amnesty. Shortly after the appeal, the Pastdargom court found Turayev guilty of “violating the prison routine.” His sentence was changed from an “open” or less restrictive form of incarceration to a “general” regime which is considered more punitive. He was then transferred to the Tavaksay colony (Tashkent region). Turayev has been exempted from all other opportunities for amnesty throughout his imprisonment. He is due to be released in April 2012.

Sergey Ivanov (22 years of age) was sentenced by the Margilan City Criminal Court (Fergana region) on July 23, 2008, to three and a half years in an “open” labor colony. After applying for amnesty, Ivanov was accused of violating the “prison routine,” and his sentence was likewise changed from an “open” to a “general” colony. He was transferred to the Tavaksay colony and was informed that he would not be considered for amnesty. He should be released in January 2012.

Abdubannob Akhmedov (34 years of age), a citizen of Margilan, has been serving a four-year prison sentence since July 23, 2008. When Akhmedov requested amnesty in 2009, he too was moved from an “open” regime settlement to a “general” regime colony in the town of Navoi. Akhmedov was excluded from the list of all annual and semiannual amnesty reviews. His prison term should end in July 2012.

Article Source: JW-Media.org


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You would think that those responsible for these outrages against freedom of religion and speech would have taken note of the record of non compromise that the brothers displayed in Nazi Germany. Our brothers didn't take the options then for release as a whole, except for one or two who came to sticky end so to speak, and nor will our brothers now. As Jeremiah wrote: " they will not prevail, for I am to deliver YOU is the utterance of Jehovah." Let us remember them in our prayers and may Jah poor out His Spirit and bless their integrity keeping under very trying conditions

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