Literature Bans on the Orthodox Lifted
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Turkmenistan announced in a speech on Feb. 2 that the government ban on religious literature for the Orthodox Church has been lifted, according to Forum 18 News. No other church group in the country has the same freedom. Religious publishing is allowed only with government approval, and very little is allowed.
Christian literature, audio recordings and DVDs are often confiscated by police during raids. Christians also report that Christian literature is routinely confiscated at border crossings, both when entering and exiting the country. Travelers are subject to frequent and thorough searches. Anything more than a handful of books will almost certainly be confiscated because officials assume extra copies are for distribution, which is illegal. The first question travelers are asked by customs officials at the airport is whether they have religious literature. Restrictions on religious literature have grown even stricter recently, with border guards confiscating literature even from those leaving the country.
Pastor Remains in Labor Camp
Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev of the Light to the World Protestant Church in Mary, Turkmenistan, is serving a four-year prison sentence on charges his church members say were fabricated to punish him for his religious activity. Pastor Nurliev had tried to register his church before his arrest in August 2010. His wife, Maya, told Forum 18 News, “The court ruled that Ilmurad is a drug addict and ordered forced treatment for this in prison.”