Inconsistency of Statements in Jehovah’s Witness Trial Indicates Foul Play by Authorities

The recent trial of Jehovah’s Witness case of Marat Mudarisov has raised serious questions about the competency of the Uzbekistan secret police service. Incomplete, inconsistent, and vague testimony given by police officials confirm that Marat has been framed by authorities on account of spreading religious hatred. Court officials are taking into account evidences and statements from the victim’s mother. Another recent victim, a student named Fahridinova, was also threatened to be expelled by the dean of her institute if she did not quit attending Jehovah’s Witness meetings. The threats and intimidation used to stop Jehovah’s Witness members from attending its meetings reflect how officials are using various means to target and falsely implicate this religious group.

The trial of a member of Jehovah’s Witness, Marat Mudarisov who is accused of instigating acts of religious hatred and humiliation, has experienced an unlikely turn in its recent session. Marat Mudarisov’s case has received wide support from Jehovah’s Witness authorities and from the public. The trial has raised questions about the moral functioning and trustworthiness of the country’s secret police force.

In its recent court hearing, the mother of the accused and the head of the National Security Service were brought in as court witnesses. Statements from both individuals seemed contradicting on almost every aspect of the case. It can be seen from these contradicting statements that Ilkhom Talanov is either unaware of the actual series of events, or that he is purposely misrepresenting information to the court.

Questions asked at the trial from both witnesses reflect two different sides of the story. Both were asked on when and how Marat Mudarisov was brought to the MSS office. According to Nuriya Madarisov, the mother of the accused, Marat went to the NSS office after a number of threatening phone calls from the office. Ilkhom Talanov stated that both mother and son came to the office willingly and were not even being expected. Second issue that raised doubt was Nuriya stating that her son was forced to stay at the office, while Ilkhom denied this by saying he stayed at his free will. Marat Mudarisov was arrested on the 19th and transferred to a temporary detention place according to administration certificates and many witnesses.

Another point that was noted in the trial hearing was the misrepresentation of dates and documents. Nuriya Mudarisov explained how her son’s possessions were taken from her by force for the purpose of search. The documented date shows 20th as the date when police officially searched Marat’s bag, whereas, Ilkhom stated that the bag was searched on the 19th in front of his mother Nuriya. Such a statement by Ilkhom strengthens the probability that the literature "of an extremist religious nature" – as stated by Talanov – had been in fact placed there purposely. Ilkhom withdrew and changed his statement a couple of times which reflected his incompetency as a witness.

In the meantime, authorities keep using force to pressure individuals who get involved in Jehovah’s Witness meetings; a police raid was conducted on 29 October in the town of Navoi in north west Uzbekistan on Jehovah’s Witness meeting in a private home, a student was threatened with expulsion by the dean of her institute if she did not refrain from attending these meetings.