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|Was imprisoned pastor forced to renounce appeal ?|
|Protestant pastor Dmitry Shestakov is claimed by officials in Uzbekistan to have "voluntarily" renounced his right to an appeal and, because of poor health, begged to be transferred immediately to his place of punishment.
Friends of the pastor, who has been sentenced to four years in a work camp, have told Forum 18 News Service that they are very concerned about this claim, as well as the unexplained cause of his poor health. Pastor Shestakov had appealed against his sentence, and officials have not explained why he has suddenly withdrawn the appeal, or why it was not heard within one month of the sentence as Uzbek law requires.
Shestakov himself had complained about this delay to the Regional Court and the Prosecutor's Office. Meanwhile, the verdict in the trial of Protestant Salauat Serikbayev for "violating the procedure for teaching religion" is expected.
Protestants have also complained to Forum 18 about continuing attacks in the state-run press, such as an article stating that missionaries are turning people into zombies and implying that sharing beliefs is "religious violence."
Source : Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service http://www.forum18.org