Parliamentary question - E-2486/2003Parliamentary question

Violation of religious freedom in Uzbekistan with respect to Adventists and members of the Asia Protestant Church

by Maurizio Turco (NI)
to the Commission

Five months after a raid on their small congregation in Nukus, capital of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic in north-western Uzbekistan, and more than two months after being fined, a group of Adventists has been summoned to appear in court in Nukus on 20 July 2003.


The Nukus Prosecutor, Sultan Ibragimov, is refusing to provide any information on the reasons for this summons.


The official responsible for religious affairs, Nurula Jamalov, has admitted that the material confiscated from the Adventists during the raid will not be distributed in Uzbekistan.


On 21 June 2003 Nelya Denisova, a member of the Asia Protestant Church, was questioned for four hours by an official of the National Security Service (formerly KGB). The NSS has forbidden her to divulge what was said at the interrogation.


The Asia Protestant Church has not yet succeeded in obtaining the registration which would allow it to operate legally on the grounds that Article 8 of Uzbekistan's Law on Religion requires pastors to receive specific religious training.


In view of the excellent economic and trade relations between the European Union and Uzbekistan, will the Commission state:

-  whether it is aware of the serious and repeated violations of religious freedom in Uzbekistan and of the above incidents?

-  what measures could, in its view, be taken within this cooperation framework as a serious and effective means of encouraging Uzbekistan to respect religious freedom?