Physical, mental torture to make detained Christians recant

China Aid Association
Violence and threats against Protestants continue; they are punished even for gathering at home to pray. Pastor Shestakov, condemned to four years in jail, is imprisoned far from home in most unsanitary conditions, threatened by the guards to make him recant.
Tashkent (AsiaNews/F18) — The Pentecostal pastor, Dmitry Shestakov, has lost between 15 and 20 kilograms after a few months of detention. Now he is in Camp No. 29 in Navoiy (central Uzbekistan), and he is constantly pressured to forswear his faith. Speaking to Forum 18, ex-detainees described life in Camp No.29: unsanitary conditions, prisoners producing quicklime and soap without proper safety measures, many falling ill and maltreated. Drinking water is contaminated with sand and salt. Guards beat the detainees with truncheons and press them to publicly renounce the “crimes” they were convicted of and to “forbidden religions”. Discipline is “maintained” by the prisoners themselves and there are criminal gangs that tyrannize the rest. Those imprisoned because of “religious extremism” are detained apart, with worse working and living conditions. Prisoners with money can bribe their way into being assigned easier work and even early release: Forum 18 reported that one year’s reduction in prison sentence costs around 750 Euros.
Shestakov was condemned on 9 March to a four-year term of imprisonment in a work camp for leading his Full Gospel church and for “religious extremism”. On 25 May, a new trial made his sentence harsher, transferring him to a tougher “ordinary regime” labour camp. Navoiy is more than 560km away from Andijan, where Shestakov lives, and this means that he can no longer meet his wife and three children.
Meanwhile, persecution continues against religions that are not Islam or Orthodox Christianity. In May, in Mirzo-Ulugbek district in Tashkent, the secret police broke into a house where 13 Pentecostals were meeting. Eight of them were sentenced to fines and a few days in prison because the meeting was unauthorized.
The police informed the authorities of the neighbourhood, generating a climate of hostility.
On 13 May, in Yangiyul, near Tashkent, the police disrupted Sunday service of the Full Gospel, threatening and filming those who were present and the pastor.

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