TURKMENISTAN: Christmas Eviction of Adventist.

Igor Rotar, Keston News Service, 27 December 2001

Marina Ismakayeva, a Seventh Day Adventist, has been ordered to leave her flat in the Turkmen city of Turmenabad (formerly Charjou), and no alternative accommodation has been offered her, Keston News Service has learned. The eviction order was issued by the Turkmenabad city court on 21 December on the grounds that an unregistered community of Adventists had been meeting in Ismakayeva's flat.

Part of the order reads as follows: "In October 2000 M.K. Ismakayeva held meetings in her flat for the Adventist community, which is not registered with the state authorities. In November 2001 she was detained in her flat for holding meetings of the above-mentioned organisation. Despite being given numerous warnings by the local inspectorate, the housing block committee and other organisations, she continued to hold meetings involving members of the organisation. M.K. Ismakayeva uses her flat for inappropriate purposes and disturbs the other inhabitants of the housing block. Evidence for this is provided by members of the housing directorate T. Yagmuradov, S Yeldashev, Z. Karajayeva, the housing block committee and other material. M.K. Ismakayeva has illegally organised a religious community and has not registered it in the proper way with the state authorities. She has infringed the regulations on holding meetings, and has illegally drawn people into a religious society by organising a group, thereby breaking Article 2-5 of the code of administrative infringements. Citizen M.K. Ismakayeva is to be evicted from her flat (ul. Izmir 22/5); no alternative flat is offered to her."

Recently there has been a significant increase in repressive measures against Protestants by the Turkmen authorities. On 21 December Keston reported that Mariya Zadorozhnaya, an elderly, blind Baptist, has been threatened with eviction from her flat in the town of Khazar (formerly Cheleken) on the Caspian Sea after hosting a Baptist service raided by the secret police the previous Sunday (16 December). The raid on the Khazar Baptist church came a month after a raid in the capital Ashgabad on a meeting of the Word of Life Protestant Church, which resulted in massive fines for some 40 people, the expulsion of three foreign citizens to Russia and two week imprisonment for several participants (see KNS 5 December 2001), and a raid on an Adventist meeting in the town of Turkmenabad, during which six people were briefly detained and religious publications confiscated (see KNS 7 December 2001). The hosts of both these meetings were threatened with the loss of their flats, though this has not yet happened. (END)