|For Immediate Release
August 13, 2007
Another conviction for teaching religion in Uzbekistan
SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan—On June 6, 2007, 25-year-old Dilafruz Arziyeva of Samarkand was sentenced to two years of correctional labor for teaching religion in violation of Article 229-2 of Uzbekistan’s Criminal Code. This is the second time this year that one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Samarkand has been convicted of teaching religion. On May 14, Irfon Khamidov was sentenced to two years in a labor camp for the same “crime.” On June 21, an appeal court in Samarkand refused his appeal. He is currently serving his sentence while his attorneys prepare to appeal his case further.
Arziyeva appealed her sentence on June 16. An appeal hearing is scheduled for August 14. Under Uzbekistan law, her sentence is not enforceable while her appeal is pending.
Despite her pending appeal, on August 4 police telephoned her home and threatened to take her into custody if she did not surrender herself to police that day to begin her two-year sentence. As soon as the courts opened, she filed protests with the Samarkand Region Prosecutor and the Chairman of the Criminal Court of the Samarkand Region. Her attorney expects that the court will consider the protests on August 14 when it is scheduled to hear the appeal of her conviction.
The Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia
ul. Srednyaya, 6, pos. Solnechnoye, St. Petersburg 197739