In and out of prison in January 2022

HRWF (07.02.2022) – Some news from the prisons in China, Iran, Pakistan and Russia in January 2022.


CHINA: Yu CHEN, a Protestant, sentenced to seven years in prison

A Chinese Christian online bookstore owner, Chen Yu, was charged with “illegal business operations” on September 27, 2021. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 200,000 RMB ($29,450 USD).

According to a document from the People’s Court of Linhai City. Additionally, the 12,864 Christian books from his bookstore were to be destroyed by the Linhai City Public Security Bureau.


CHINA: 5 Muslim women sentenced to prison terms


Female Uyghur Muslims sentenced to prison terms: 7 to 20 years


I think that in the column #of arrests, you should write 5, have all the full names in the same box. See what is best. We can talk online if you need help.


IRAN: Conditional release of 9 Christians

Muslim converts Abdolreza Ali Haghnejad, Shahrooz Eslamdoust, Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Mehdi Khatibi, Khalil Dehghanpour, Hossein Kadivar, Kamal Naamanian and Mohammad Vafadar were conditionally released following a Supreme Court ruling but two weeks later, Ali Haghnejad was sent back to prison!!!


IRAN: Hadi Rahimi starting his prison term

Christian convert Hadi (Moslem) Rahimi has begun serving his four-year prison sentence for “acting against national security” by attending a house-church and “spreading ‘Zionist’ Christianity”.


PAKISTAN: Zafar Bhatti sentenced to death

A Christian man, Zafar Bhatti, 58, has been sentenced to death by the Pakistan session court of Rawalpindi, after being charged with blasphemy in 2012.

On July 22, 2012, Bhatti, a pastor, was arrested after being accused of sending text messages insulting the Prophet Muhammad’s mother. There are reports that Bhatti was tortured into confessing.

On May 3, 2017, Bhatti was sentenced to life in prison for “insulting the Prophet Muhammad” (Sec. 295-C).

On June 22, 2021, Bhatti’s conviction was upheld by a sessions court judge in the Rawalpindi District.

In January 2022, the British Asian Christian Association reported that the Rawalpindi Sessions Court had sentenced Bhatti to death.

PAKISTAN: Release of Nadeem Samson

In a historic ruling for Pakistan,  Nadeem Samson,  jailed over a rent dispute, has been released on bail. However, the chances of him being found innocent have not increased. According to lawyer Saif ul Malook, the decision could serve as a precedent for other victims.

PAKISTAN: Aneeqa Ateeq, a Muslim woman sentenced to death (Blasphemy)

On January 19, 2022, Aneeqa Ateeq, a 26-year-old woman was sentenced to death by the Trial Court of Rawalpindi after she had been accused by a man called Hasnat Farooq of sharing via WhatsApp with him blasphemous messages and caricatures

RUSSIA: Two more Jehovah’s Witnesses sentenced to a prison term, Korotun and Kolesnichenko


On January 20, 2022, the Seversky City Court found Jehovah’s Witness Yevgeny Korotun guilty of organizing the activities of an extremist organization under Part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to seven years in prison with subsequent restriction of liberty for two years and a five-year ban on working in educational institutions and “placement of any educational information”, including on the Internet.


On the same day, the Seversky City Court found another Jehovah’s Witness, Andrei Kolesnichenko, guilty of participating in the activities of an extremist organization under Part 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code. He was sentenced to four years in prison with subsequent restriction of liberty for a year.


RUSSIA: Alexei Ershov and Maksim Beltikov, the first two Jehovah’s Witnesses sent to prison in 2022


A court in Seversk sentenced this 68-year old Jehovah’s Witness to three years in a penal colony.

On 19 January 2022, Judge of the Seversky City Court of the Tomsk Region Yalchin Badalov found 68-year-old Jehovah’s Witness Alexei Ershov guilty of participating in “extremist activities” (Part 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to three years in a penal colony.  A week beforeMaksim Nikolayevich Beltikov was sentenced to two years in prison for discussing the Bible.

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