By Emily Watt | 19 February 2020
Tajikistan | Pastor Freed From Prison
A pastor in Tajikistan has been freed just before Christmas after spending three years in prison for worshipping in his church. Arrested for “singing extremist songs in church and so inciting religious hatred,” Bahrom Kholmatov was released from serving his prison sentence three months early.
Tajik authorities arrested Bahrom in April 2017 during a raid on the Good News of Grace Protestant Church. Several other churches were also raided and shut down.
Authorities claimed lyrics from worship songs such as “our fight is not against flesh and blood” and “God’s army is marching,” were calling for Christians to overthrow the government.
Members of the congregation said that authorities targeted and harassed them following Bahrom’s arrest. Religious affairs officials denied that the arrest and imprisonment were prejudiced against Christians.
Upon his release, Bahrom said, “I’d like to express my huge gratitude to all the people who supported and prayed for me. Those prayers have helped me stand.
“They helped my precious wife and children, they helped members of my church who were left without a pastor, then kicked by the authorities out of our building. They helped us grow spiritually and to transform into the nature of our heavenly Lord. All glory to God!”
Pray For Tajikistan:
- Praise God for His provision over Bahrom and the Tajik church.
- Pray that the church will be strengthened and able to grow despite opposition from the government.
- Pray that God will continue to encourage Christians to follow Jesus, no matter the cost.
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