Sahat*, a Christian who was arrested after sharing the Bible with a member of the security services, has been released.
Sahat* was arrested just a few days ago. He was walking down the road when a stranger began talking to him. Sahat shared the gospel with him, and the stranger seemed very interested and asked about the source of his information. Sahat answered that he could learn more about Jesus from the New Testament.
As soon as Sahat took the New Testament from his bag to give it to the man, he was arrested – the stranger was an officer of the security services. According to Tajik legislation the distribution of religious literature and ‘religious propaganda’ in public places is forbidden.
However, the situation remains serious. His laptop and flashcard containing Christian materials and some printed Christians materials he owns have been confiscated, and are being looked at by the security services. They may find further reasons to imprison him again, along with other Christians he knows.
On Sunday 19 February officers from the security services visited church services in two towns in Tajikistan. They appeared to be normal guests, but filmed the services and took photos. There were children and teenagers there, which is prohibited by Tajik legislation – the involvement of children and teenagers in religious events is prohibited until the age of 18.
As a result, criminal investigations into both churches have begun and church activities have been suspended until the investigations finish. All the members of the churches are questioned every day.
In the town of one of these churches, a Christian called Akhmed* was severely beaten by a group saying, “You should visit mosque, not the church.”
Tajikistan is number 35 on the 2017 World Watch List. More and more restrictive legislation has been imposed in the last two years, and churches that are active in evangelism suffer from raids, threats, arrests, and fines.
*Names changed for security reasons
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.