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Appeal being prepared for Uzbek Baptist prisoner of conscience

A prayer card for Uzbek Baptist prisoner Tohar Haydarov, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in 2010

An appeal to the Uzbekistan Supreme Court is being prepared against the 10-year jail sentence imposed on 27-year-old Uzbek Council of Churches Baptist Tohar Haydarov, fellow church members in Tashkent told Forum 18 News Service on Wednesday, July 7, 2010.

“Haydarov, who lives in Guliston in Syrdarya Region, was sentenced in March on drugs charges which Baptists vehemently insist are fabricated. An initial appeal against the sentence was rejected in April, despite numerous violations of legal procedure in the original trial,” says Mushfig Bayram, writing for Forum 18, which is based in Oslo, Norway.

“After his trial, Haydarov was transferred some 400 kms (250 miles) from his home town to a labour camp near Karshi [Qarshi], where fellow Baptists have been able to visit him twice.”

The story said that each time they were given 40 minutes to talk over the phone through a glass wall, one church member told Forum 18. “Around twenty such phone conversations were going on at the same time, and they had to shout to hear each other,” he said.

Baptists who have seen Haydarov in jail report that his health is “normal,” and state that “he is hoping that justice will happen and he will be released.”

Appeal for letters in support

“We ask all the Christians, and others who are not indifferent to the destiny of Tohar to pray and ask the Uzbekistan authorities to acquit and release him,” the Baptists told Forum 18. They said that letters can be sent to Haydarov at: UYa 64/49, otryad 13, pos. Shaikh-Ali, g. Karshi, Kashkadarya Region, 180020 Uzbekistan.

Note: The Uzbeks are a Turkic people in Central Asia. The genetic studies conducted show that they are the most mixed nation of Central Asia having blood ties to Indo-Europeans, Scythians, Hunns, Altai Turks, Arabs, Persians and most recently Mongols. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Smaller diaspora populations of Uzbeks from Central Asia, mainly from Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, are also found in Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, North America, and Western Europe.

Dan Wooding, Assist News Service

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