By BosNewsLife News Center
TASHKENT/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– Supporters of a pastor in Uzbekistan have urged prayers amid concerns the devoted church leader and his son will face heavy fines for unregistered religious activity.
Last month security forces reportedly raided the home of Pastor Stanislav Kim in Chirchik, some 32 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of Tashkent, the capital, detaining 11 teenagers and three adults who had gathered there for a volleyball game.
They were questioned for more than four hours before being released, Christians said.
Pastor Kim, who leads an unregistered church, and his son were not taken into custody but fellow believers warned they were expected to face heavy fines.
Uzbek officials already searched Pastor Stanislav’s home and confiscated a New Testament, a Bible, several other Christian books, more than 100 slides of hymns, and computer equipment, Christians said.
Under autocratic President Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan introduced religion legislation banning unregistered religious activity. Activists claim the government relentlessly persecutes Christians, many of whom are gathering in underground home churches as it is nearly impossible to obtain church registration.
There are at least 65 unregistered congregations scattered throughout the country, according to advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs (VOM), which supports the pastor.
“Please pray that this pastor and his son will not face fines, but will soon be acquitted of any perceived wrongdoing,” VOM said in a statement. “Ask God to strengthen each believer who was present during this unwarranted ” raid so that they will not give in to governmental intimidation and pressure, but instead be emboldened to serve our Lord faithfully.”
VOM asked Christians to also pray that the teenagers who were detained will “continue to grow in their faith and become strong leaders within the church” of the Central Asian country.