Date: April 10, 2014
Sources: VOM USA, Forum 18 News Service
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 himself and hit one of the men on the head with a brick, causing injury. The man filed a complaint against Umid with local police. Several days later, Umid and his family reconciled with the man he injured and paid for his hospital expenses. Although the victim refused to press charges, when police learned that Umid was a Christian, they insisted on bringing the case to court.
Umid was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of "hooliganism," even though none of the other men involved in the melee were prosecuted. One of the investigators reportedly told Umid's relative that because their family member is a believer, the court will not forgive him.
After nearly two years in prison, there have been four general amnesties in which prisoners charged under the same law as Umid have been released, yet he remains in prison. "Umid was told in the labour camp, he is not being included in the amnesties because he reads the Bible," explains a Christian who knows the imprisoned believer.
As a result of his imprisonment, Umid's wife, Malahat, was forced to leave her job and care for their children. The family is struggling to make ends meet without their primary breadwinner.
Intercede on behalf of Umid, Malahat and their children, asking the Lord to provide a way for Umid to be released from prison. Pray that, in the meantime, they will continue to glorify Him in all things and in all situations. Ask God to meet every need Malahat now faces as she raises the children on her own, encouraging fellow believers to rally around this family in prayer and tangible support. Finally, pray for the authorities involved in this case...that they will seek justice and truth on behalf of Umid and his struggling family.
To write a letter of encouragement to Umid in his own language, visit VOM's letter writing site at www.prisoneralert.com/qry/vp_writeletter.taf?pfilid=238.