Georgia: "No Action" In Wake Of Attack on Pentecostals

Members of the Word of Life Pentecostal Church, human rights activists and some politicians have complained about the failure of the police or prosecutor's office to take any action so far in the wake of last month's attack on a Word of Life service in a cinema in the centre of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The mob raid - the latest in a long series of attacks on minority religious communities dating back to 1999 - was led by Basil Mkalavishvili, a defrocked priest of the Orthodox Church who enjoys de facto immunity from prosecution for his violent raids. (see KNS 26 September 2001) "We have not arrested Mkalavishvili," the duty police officer at the Mtatsminda-Krtsanisi district police told Keston News Service on 11 January. "Why should we?" His boss, district police chief Togo Gogua, confirmed later in the day that his officers had not arrested anyone in the wake of the latest attack. "I'm not the procurator and I'm not the judge. An investigation is underway," Gogua declared. "They must be arrested," the church's pastor insisted to Keston. "It's not a question of religious freedom but of hooliganism. Such hooligan gangs should not be allowed to exist."

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Turkmenistan: Authorities Strip Closed Baptist Church Bare

The authorities of the Niyazov district of the Turkmen capital Ashgabad broke their own seals on the doors of the city's Baptist church on 2 March and confiscated everything inside. The move was timed on the last working day before nearly a week of public holidays in the country. Keston News Service has been able to find no Turkmen local or national government official prepared to discuss why the contents of the country's last Baptist church have been carted away in several lorry loads, despite repeated telephone calls.

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Turkmenistan Launches Torture, Intimidation Campaign

During the past two weeks, Turkmenistan's political police have launched another harsh crackdown against its Protestant Christian citizens.

At least four known believers in the capital of Ashgabad have been subjected to repeated beatings, electric shocks, partial suffocation and other forms of torture while under interrogation, prosecution and ongoing harassment.

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