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Uzbekistan deports Jehovah's witnesses

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Russian citizen Yelena Tsingalova and her two underage children were deported from Tashkent on 25 July. She described the Uzbek authorities' move as "persecution for religious motives".

The Forum 18 religious news service said that the Interior Ministry's migration services department launched the deportation process on 8 March.

On 12 June Tsingalova received air tickets to Moscow for herself and her two children.

After she received the tickets and learnt about the authorities' decision to deport her from the country, the woman immediately complained to the presidential administration, the Prosecutor-General's Office and the Committee for Religious Affairs.

She claimed her deportation was nothing but "discrimination and persecution for religious motives".

"As you can understand, I absolutely cannot agree with these actions against me. As a matter of fact, this means that I am being sent to nowhere!" Forum 18 cited her complaint to the presidential administration.

Her disabled mother Galina Poligenko-Aleshkina was left behind in Tashkent. She also complained to the presidential administration, but her complaint was forwarded to the Tashkent city prosecutor's office, which has not yet yielded results.

On 2 July Tsingalova who appealed against the deportation ruling was summoned to the city prosecutor's office because of her complaint to the Prosecutor-General's Office.

When the woman went to see Prosecutor Mulajanov she was detained and sent to a detention centre for homeless people in Tashkent.

On 4 July the migration authorities told her mother that she would be deported from the country for being absent in Tashkent when her case was heard.

Tsingalova indeed spent several weeks visiting her relatives outside the Uzbek capital, but she said she had not signed any papers that limited her movement within the country. Her mother learnt about her daughter's whereabouts only on 10 July.

About a month before Tsingalova's deportation, Kazakh citizen Oksana Shcherbina was also deported from Uzbekistan, Forum 18 said.

On 10 May, police detainer her and two other members of the Jehovah's Witnesses church Viktoriya Gorshkova and Margarita Ten for proselytism in Bukhara, the news agency said.

Police detained Shcherbeneva, Gorshkova and Bukhara-based Jehovah's Witness Elnora Maksutova again on 31 May.

During a search operation in their houses, police seized about 100 Jehovah's Witnesses brochures in Russian and Uzbek, DVDs, personal notes, mobile telephones, an MP4 player and a camera.

The same day Shcherbeneva, Gorshkova and Ten were tried by Bukhara criminal court judge Shuhrat Yadgarov. Gorshkova and Ten were handed down large fines, while Shcherbeneva was convicted to 15 days in prison and deportation.

Source: http://www.uznews.net/news_single.php?lng=en&sub=hot&cid=3&nid=20431


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