(Batken Province, Kyrgyzstan) Two young Jehovah's Witnesses were convicted in Kadamjai District Court of possessing banned radical Islamic materials.
Each was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Iskandar Kambarov, 18, and Jonibek Nosirov, 22, were convicted of possessing DVDs associated with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an underground radical Islamic group that advocates the non-violent overthrow of Central Asian governments.Lawyers for Kambarov and Nosirov have filed an appeal with Kyrgyzstan’s Prosecutor General. Of course, with Kyrgyzstan authorities planting evidence, chances are that they will keep Jehovah's Witnesses in prison. Corruption generally trumps truth.
Sentenced on May 18, the pair insists security officials planted the DVDs during two unannounced visits to their house on January 25. Subsequently, on January 29, four officials from the State Security Committee (GKNB) raided the property without a warrant, according to a defense lawyer. The State Committee for Religious Affairs subsequently certified the discs as extremist, and, therefore, illegal to possess and/or distribute.
Security officials in the Kadamjai District of Batken told a judge that the pair was under surveillance because they had been “preaching” and “only went out after dark.” But authorities may have suspected Kambarov and Nosirov, who are cousins of Kyrgyz ethnicity, because they come from across the Uzbekistan border in the Ferghana Valley -- a region associated with Islamic extremism. The two had applied for permanent resident status in Kyrgyzstan in 2010.