MARCH 23, 2021
On March 16, 2021, a Turkmen court announced its verdict in the case involving Brother Rasul Rozbayev. He was sentenced to two years in prison for conscientious objection. This is the second time he has been convicted for his neutral stand.
Born: 1999 (Khallang)
Biography: Has two older sisters and a younger brother. After graduation from high school, began studying to become a barber. Enjoys playing soccer and volleyball, and swimming
Parents became Jehovah’s Witnesses when he was a child. Baptized in 2013
Brother Rasul Rozbayev was first convicted for conscientious objection to military service on December 19, 2017. He was sentenced to two years of correctional labor. He was assigned to care for a piece of land, plant wheat on it, and give 20 percent of the crop to the government. His allotment was very far from his home. With no vehicle, he had to travel on foot.
According to Turkmen law, the authorities can convict a conscientious objector a second time. Thus, on April 22, 2020, he again reported to a recruitment office to refuse conscription. This began a process of summons to appear at the military office, interrogations, medical examinations, and threats of prosecution that went on for many months. His case was turned over to the prosecutors on January 22, 2021.
Rasul has taken courage by learning from the example of other brothers and sisters who are facing the same challenges. “Their life course helps me to rely on Jehovah . . . and gives me strength under trial. I will be able to make Jehovah and Jesus rejoice if I remain faithful,” Rasul says. This also presents a test of faith for his entire family. His mother shares what strengthens her during this time: “I knew from Bible examples and from our videos that it is not just me who is experiencing this kind of trial. Other brothers and sisters are also, and they have been victorious. Their examples strengthen me to endure.”
Rasul has found particular comfort in the words found at Psalm 37:23, 24. With Jehovah’s help, we know he and our other young, courageous brothers will maintain their faith, loyalty, and joy.