Kyrgyzstan restricts freedom for Ahmadis

On 10 July Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal against two lower courts’ support of the State Commission for Religious Affairs’ (SCRA) refusal to give state registration to the Ahmadi Muslim community. Asel Bayastanova, the Ahmadi’s defence lawyer, told Forum 18 News Service that “it means that Ahmadi Muslims cannot act like Ahmadi Muslims and organise meetings for worship or any other activity together”.

An Ahmadi Muslim, who asked to remain unnamed for fear of state reprisals, told Forum 18 that “this is equal to banning us .. If we are found by the NSS secret police, the ordinary police, or any other state agency to be carrying out ‘illegal’┬áreligious activity, we will be given harsh punishments – maybe even imprisonment.” The SCRA’s lawyer, Zhanibek Botoyev, claimed that “we are not going to send them to prisons”. He also stated that “they can individually pray or read their books in their homes but they must not worship together. Otherwise they will be punished.” He refused to say exactly what punishments will be imposed.