DASHOGUZ, Turkmenistan (F18) — Police and other unidentified officials who raided the home of a Baptist family in the northern city of Dashoguz dragged the father of the family, 77-year-old Begjan Shirmedov, from the house by his collar and beat the hands of his 68-year-old wife until they bled, Protestants told Forum 18 News Service.
About 15 church members were questioned and religious literature seized. The raid came two weeks after a raid on another Protestant meeting in the city, with fines on three participants. One of those fined, Oleg Piyashev, was revisiting his homeland from Russia. A Russian and Turkmen citizen, he was banned from leaving Turkmenistan at Ashgabad airport Sept. 23. The Russian Embassy told Forum 18 it is awaiting an explanation from the Turkmen Foreign Ministry. (F18)