Christians in Uzbekistan Punished for Having Religious Literature in Homes
Stanislav Kim, a Baptist from Urgench in the northwestern Khorezm region of Uzbekistan, was sentenced to two years’ corrective labor for having religious books in his home, something the authorities consider to be illegal. He must live at home under restrictions with a fifth of his wages seized by the state. Since this was his second offence within a year, Kim was convicted under the Criminal Code and the two-year corrective labor sentence was imposed. Courts often order religious literature that is confiscated from peoples’ homes to be destroyed.
In the capital, Tashkent, a Presbyterian Christian was fined in May for having religious literature at his home. The Christian literature was ordered to be handed to the state-backed Muslim Board. A criminal trial against him began in September for illegal use of computers.
Four Baptists in the Surkhandarya Region were punished for possession of religious literature that was confiscated during an illegal house search. Two Bibles, as well as other books and discs, were ordered destroyed. Officials claimed one book was banned because it could be used to spread a faith. They also claimed Baptists are banned in the region because they do not have state registration. In Zarafshan, a Baptist pastor and his wife were fined for owning Bibles and Baptist songbooks that were seized from their home.
Please pray for Christians in Uzbekistan. It’s getting more and more difficult to spread the Gospel with literature. Pray for the many house churches throughout the country that also have Bibles and Christian books; pray that the materials will not be discovered.
Source: Forum 18
God our Father, rich in mercy and grace and sovereign over all the nations, we bring before Your throne of grace today the nation of Uzbekistan and the zeal of Your church there to spread the good news of the gospel of Christ to a nation in great need. Thank You for the Bibles and Christian literature they have available to help in this effort and we pray that You will protect it from the eyes of the authorities that Your Word might go forth in great power among the people. We pray for those who are facing penalties for having Christian literature in their homes that You might both comfort them and empower them to spread the gospel in new ways as well. May there be a moving of Your Holy Spirit across the land of Uzbekistan and a mighty church raised up to bring glory to the name of Christ. It is in His name, the name above all names, that we pray. Amen.