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Following a January 22 raid on Protestants in a private flat in Turkmenabad, Turkmenistan, a court has imposed heavy fines on 17 of those present. All are thought to have been fined under Article 205, Part 2, of the Administrative Code, which punishes "support for or participation in the activity of a religious group or religious organisation not officially registered in accordance with the legally established procedure."

The fines represent between one and two months' wages for those in an average state job. "I don't know how these people are going to pay the fines," a source told Forum 18. State officials refused to discuss the case. While the Administrative Code is being re-drafted, previous legislative changes have not improved freedom of religion or belief in Turkmenistan.

Ask the Lord to establish His church among the people of Turkmenistan, despite the current situation. Pray the Lord will bring genuine religious freedom to this nation. Pray believers will keep their eyes fixed on Jesus, persevere in the faith and not grow weary or lose heart. Pray particularly for young believers in Turkmenistan.

You can learn more about the mistreatment of Christians in Turkmenistan at the Turkmenistan Country Report.