Letter to Uzbekistan - Ambassador
His Excellency Ilhomjon Nematov,
Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan,
1746 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.,
Washington, D. C., DC20036, U. S. A.
Your Excellency, Mr. Ilhomjon Nematov,
I am a Canadian Christian who is concerned about human rights issues in Uzbekistan.
On April 5, 2011, the National Security Service raided the home of Anvar Rajapov and confiscated around 250 Christian materials, a computer and Rajapov's passport. Police also photographed Rajapov's children without consent. Rajapov was convicted on April 14 for illegal storage of religious material, illegal organization of meetings and proselytizing. Rajapov was fined approximately $2,330. Christians claimed that the courts gave no evidence to support their charges. Uzbekistan's courts repeatedly order the confiscation of religious literature such as Bibles. In April, 2011, two raids were conducted on the Hamza District Baptist Church. One raid saw thousands of Christian books and money taken. A Church-owned flat was raided, and printing equipment and tens of thousands of Christian books were taken. Four believers were fined between 50 and 100 times the minimum monthly wage. The Church was fined approximately $4,090 for not using a cash register to record donations and sales. On March 13, 2011, in a supposed anti-terror operation police broke into a nursing home where Christians were conducting a service. The Christians said they had permission for the service. Police argued that it was unauthorized. The Christian were interrogated and threatened for four hours. The police took Christian materials and money.
Tohar Haydarov was sentenced on March 9, 2010 to 10 years in prison for illegally selling narcotics. Members of his Baptist Church maintained that the charges have been fabricated.
One Bible society in Uzbekistan has also come under stiff opposition from the courts. It was fined approximately $189 for “violating procedures” in importing Bibles in 2008 and 2009. The court also ordered the society to return nearly 15,000 Bibles at its own expense.
Christians around the world are aware of these cases and want to see changes to human rights abuses. We also want to see Tohar Haydarov's case re-investigated by an impartial court system. We want Uzbekistani Christians to be able to hold services and distribute literature without harassment from Uzbekistan's government and courts. I appeal to you to make diplomatic efforts towards seeing these kinds of human rights realized.
Thank you for hearing my concerns. I have also written and expressed my concerns to Prime Minister Stephan Harper and to the Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. I will be pleased to hear back from you.
Respectfully and sincerely,