Kyrgyzstan Keeps a Tight Grip On Religion

January 19, 2010

Author: Martin Vennard

Source: BBC News

Bolot, a young evangelical preacher in Kyrgyzstan, says he has already been arrested twice since setting up a new church.

He says he is the victim of a new law on religion, which critics say severely restricts religious freedoms and is forcing some groups underground.

Under the law, new religious groups have to have at least 200 members before they can register with the authorities and operate legally - previously the figure was 10.

Kyrgyzstan is just the latest Central Asian republic to have been accused of curtailing religious rights.

"In our church we don't have official registration because we have only 25 people, and we are banned from trying to convert people. We have lots of problems with the government," Bolot says.