A pastor was arrested by the Uzbek secret police on January 21, according to a January 25 report from Compass Direct.
During a raid on the Full Gospel Church in Andijan, secret service officers asked Pastor Dmitry Shestakov (37) to step outside with them for five minutes. They then escorted him to the nearest police station. At last report, he was still in police custody.
Pastor Shestakov is accused of "incitement of national, racial and religious enmity" under Article 156 of Uzbekistan's penal code. He could face up to five years in jail if convicted of this charge.
Pastor Shestakov has reportedly been harassed by authorities since May 2006. In June 2006, police raided his home, confiscated videos of his sermons and temporarily detained him. At the time, he was ordered to list all of his church members but refused to do so. Once he was released, he and his family went into hiding to avoid charges of treason (read the story). They returned several months later and remained in contact with the Andijan congregation.
Pray that all charges against Pastor Shestakov will be dropped. Pray that he will rely on the Lord to give him the words to say when he stands before accusing authorities (Matthew 10:19). Pray that the Holy Spirit will bring many of his neighbours, friends and even persecutors to Christ through his faithful witness (Romans 12:14, 21).For more information on persecution of Christians in Uzbekistan, click here.