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Authorities have threatened to seize the property of a formerly imprisoned Christian man unless he pays a large sum of money they claim he acquired illegally in 1995, according to a May 11 report from Forum18.

Shageldy Atakov was imprisoned in 1999 on charges of swindling another individual out of $12,000 US during a car deal. Atakov and other local Christians maintain that the charges were fabricated in order to stop his Christian activity. While in detention at the Seydi Labour Camp, Atakov suffered repeated beatings, medical neglect, poor diet and torture with psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs for refusing to abandon his faith. In January 2002 he was released. He served the full prison sentence, thus he is already cleared of the alleged debt now being demanded by authorities.

On April 29, a local official visited the home that Atakov shares with his wife and their nine children in order to assess the value of their property and examine ownership documents.

Pray that all false allegations against Atakov will cease. Pray for strength and protection for Atakov and his family. Pray that Christians facing trials in Turkmenistan will remember that they will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which they are suffering (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

Learn more about the persecution of Christians in Turkmenistan.

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Country Information

5,579,889 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Turkmen (85), Uzbek (5), Russian (4), other (6)

Religion (%)
Islam (93), Christian (6.4)

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (2007)

Government type
Presidential republic; authoritarian

Legal system
Civil law system with Islamic law influences

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Turkmenistan

Pray that the Lord will give the suffering members of the church in Turkmenistan the strength and determination to stand firm amid opposition and oppression. May they be granted opportunities to meet together for meaningful times of worship, Bible study and fellowship – encouraging and edifying one another in the Christian faith. Despite governmental restrictions, and the threat of fine or imprisonment, may the church in Turkmenistan flourish and bear much good fruit.


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Turkmenistan News

  • Christmastime Raid
    Christians studying the Bible - Photo: World Watch Monitor www.worldwatchmonitor.org
    Pray that Turkmen believers will have opportunities to share God’s truths.
    Photo: World Watch Monitor

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    A Christian leader from Galkynysh in Lebap Region was recently fined two weeks' average local wages following a police raid. The authorities stopped Narmurad Mominov just as he left the home of a Christian family he had been visiting. Narmurad was ordered to stay at the home, where he and the other

  • Follower of Jesus Endures Detention for His Faith
    Umid Gojayev

    Umid Gojayev, a 30-year-old husband and father of three young children, is continuing to be held in detention because of his faith.

    In early 2012, Umid had an argument with four neighbours over access to a well where they live in Dashoguz. In the scuffle, Umid was forced to defend himse