Disabled Christian woman beaten in police raid on Uzbek home

October 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-world, Persecution, Uzbekistan

Valentina and Natalya Pleshakova

Valentina and Natalya Pleshakova

Uzbekistan, September 24, 2012: A disabled Christian woman and her mother were beaten up in a violent police raid on their home in Uzbekistan; officers then tried to pressurise them to convert to Islam

The flat that Natalya Pleshakova (26) shares with her mother Valentina (53) in Tashkent was broken into on 6 August by six plain-clothes officers with sticks and bats. One of them hit Natalya, who walks with the aid of crutches, and the men dragged her into the kitchen. They continued to beat her and also rained blows on Valentina.

The officers turned the home upside down, seizing Bibles and other religious literature. The two women were dragged into a minibus and taken to the local police station. Officers tried to pressure them to accept Islam, saying it was better than Christianity, and that a married man could marry them because Muslim men are allowed to have four wives. When the women refused to comply, the officers threatened and beat them.

After an ordeal that lasted nearly ten hours, Natalya and Valentina were released in the early hours of the following morning. But they were summoned later that day to the district court, where they were convicted of an offence relating to the illegal distribution of religious materials.

The court ordered the destruction of the literature and fined each of the women 1,447,100 Soms (£450; US$740), which is 20 times the minimum monthly wage in Uzbekistan. The fines were, however, cancelled two weeks later following the intervention of a senior church leader, and the penalty reduced to a warning.

Shortly afterwards, the Pleshakovas were slandered in an article on a state-backed website that accused them of being Jehovah’s Witnesses.


The authorities in Uzbekistan frequently raid Christian gatherings and even private homes. One Christian couple from Navoi, Artur and Irina Alpayev, had essential household items including their refrigerator, washing machine and dining table illegally confiscated by bailiffs in two seizures, one on 8 August, the next on 11 September. This followed their failure to pay huge fines imposed on them on 9 June for keeping Christian books in their flat.

The Alpayevs, who have five children, have been warned that more of their possessions may be taken. Artur said the bailiffs had been instructed to “leave only one spoon, one mug and one mattress for each member of the family”.

Another couple from the same unregistered Baptist church, Nikolai and Larissa Serin, are also facing the confiscation of their property. They were fined along with the Alpayevs following a raid on the latter’s home in April; Bibles and Christian literature were confiscated.

The two men were each fined 3,146,000 Soms (£990; US$1,600), which is 50 times the minimum monthly wage in Uzbekistan, while their wives were each ordered to pay 2,516,800 Soms (£790; US$1,280), which is 40 times the minimum monthly pay, for possession of religious literature.

Artur said that as well as the fines being beyond the families’ ability to pay, they had refused to comply on principle. Baptists in Uzbekistan reject state interference in their religious affairs.

An appeal had been filed, but some of the Alpayevs’ property was seized before the final hearing took place on 10 August. The appeal was unsuccessful.

The publication and distribution of religious literature is subject to intense state control inUzbekistan.

– barnabas team

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