On March 9, 2010, a criminal court in Uzbekistan sentenced 27-year-old Tohar Haydarov to 10 years in prison for the “illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities.” Members of the Baptist church in Uzbekistan insist that the charges are fabricated and that Haydarov’s sentence was punishment for his religious activity. It is unclear why Haydarov received a 10-year sentence.
According to Forum 18 News, Baptists insist that police planted drugs on Haydarov, and church members insist that he is “a man with a pure conscience and an honest Christian.” Haydarov's appeal was denied.
Surprise Release for Tohar Haydarov
Tohar Haydarov was released from prison on Nov. 8, 2016. He served six years, 10 months of his 10 year prison sentence.
“God heard the prayers of many Christians,” inside sources told Forum 18. “We are thankful to everybody who prayed for him and sent letters to him while in prison.”
Uzbek Christians told Forum 18 that Tohar was released due to good behavior, but that he was released quietly, and no one was there to meet him when he was released. His future remains unknown. Authorities warned him verbally not to get into trouble after his release.
Parole Will Not Happen – April 2016
Prison authorities in Uzbekistan have told Tohar Haydarov that a mid-2016 parole from his 10-year sentence “will not happen.” Officials offered no further explanation about why the Christian, who has served more than six years of his sentence, is not eligible for parole. Tohar told fellow church members during a January visit that he continues to “feel like God is next to him in prison.” He also knows many people from around the world write letters to him, but he only receives a handful of the letters. He thanks those who are praying for him and thinking about him.
Sentence Confirmed; Prisoner Shown Letters
A judge recently confirmed Tohar's ten year prison sentence, for charges church members say are false. "The court correctly stated the criminal act of Tohar Haydarov, and the punishment was given in proportion to the act, taking into account the public danger of the act," the judge wrote.
Prison authorities recently showed Tohar some of the many letters sent to him, but he is not allowed to read them, because "there are too many citations from the Bible in them."