Uzbek believer beaten, denied medical help

Uzbekistan (ODM/MNN) — Because of critical events regarding persecution, Mission Network News is posting the full story from Open Doors USA’s newsflash letter. This story also contains information from an International Christian Concern article explaining reasons why persecution against religious literature occurs in Uzbekistan.

As stated in the International Christian Concern article, the executive director of Uzbekistan’s Bible Society is denying claims that people are prohibited from having Bibles in their homes. The fact remains that the government frequently harasses Christians especially when they are found to be avid follows of faith.

It’s a gray area as the government does allow Bibles in the country, but they do have the authority to regulate how many copies are owned. They also have to approve all religious material and what translations can be permitted in the country. At any given moment, the authorities can claim Bibles and religious literature that are being stored illegally, thus giving them an excuse to confiscate materials and punish owners.

As religious literature is under tight control, it continues to be an infringement on citizens’ rights to religious freedom, thus leading to a specific situation with “brother C” (his name being concealed for safety reasons).

Open Doors USA released a newsflash article saying that “brother C” was detained by police in a city in Uzbekistan. He was stopped at the train station, and after searching him, police found a flash card with Christian e-books, MP3s, and other Christian materials in one of his pockets. He was brought to the police office where he was then beaten by the local police chief. “Brother C” is a member of a non-registered local Christian fellowship.

After the beating, “brother C” started feeling dizzy and nauseated. Obviously, he had a serious concussion. When “brother C” asked for health care and assistance, police representatives denied the request. Instead, police members went to his home where they started an illegal search. They confiscated his computer, three Christian books, and a DVD. After police left, “brother C” went to the hospital for help.

Police tried to “hush” the illegal detention and inhuman beating of “brother C” and sent him to court. The court fined ‘brother C” $500. In addition, the court also decided to confiscate the books, computer, and the flash card. “Brother C” is writing a complaint to the Supreme Court regarding the illegal actions of the police, which caused harm to his health. Pray for the health of “brother C” and that the peace of God would comfort his heart.

Uzbekistan is ranked #16 on the 2013 World Watch List, which ranks fifty countries where persecution is most severe for Christians. Please continue to pray for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as they deal with persecution on a daily basis. Pray that they will stand strong in their faith and continue to share the Gospel with those around them. Pray for their safety as they serve the Lord.