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4 July 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: 74 known administrative prosecutions in six months

Of 74 known administrative prosecutions in the first half of 2018 for exercising freedom of religion or belief, 63 ended with fines of up to four months' average wages. A quarter of those punished also received three-month bans on activity. Meeting for worship, offering religious literature and sharing faith without state permission triggered such punishments.

5 June 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Restrictive legal amendments reach Senate

Wide-ranging amendments to Kazakhstan's Religion Law and 11 other laws that seem set to increase still further the already tight restrictions on freedom of religion or belief begin consideration in Parliament's upper house. Working Group chair Sergei Ershov was unable to say if he would send the draft Law for an OSCE review.

30 May 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Legal amendments - no text, no OSCE review

Kazakhstan's Human Rights Ombudsperson called in April for the parliamentary Working Group considering the wide-ranging amendments to the Religion Law and other laws to be sent for an OSCE legal review. The Working Group head rejected this. The amendments, now adopted by the lower house, are likely to reach the Senate soon, but the public has no access to the text.

22 May 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: 40 months, 65 criminal convictions

Three Muslims who drank tea, prayed and discussed their faith have failed to overturn their three-year jail terms on appeal. The men's bank accounts are likely now to be blocked and they owe a large sum in court fees. Their jailing means 65 alleged Tabligh Jamaat members have been convicted since 2015.

18 May 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Why were prisoner's conditions made harsher?

After prisoner of conscience Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov's transfer to a harsher prison he is held in solitary confinement with one short daily exercise period, and can have only two two-hour meetings with relatives a year. He is only occasionally allowed to read the Koran.

20 April 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Parents challenge schoolgirl headscarf ban

Kazakhstan's national schoolgirl headscarf ban is being legally challenged by a group of Muslim parents, whose daughters have been banned from school for wearing a headscarf. In their interpretation of Islam, they argue, wearing a headscarf is compulsory. Officials deny a headscarf problem exists.

11 April 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: State demands young worshippers' personal data

A Kazakh regional Religious Affairs Department has demanded the personal data of everyone under 18 who attends Christian meetings for worship. "It was not sent to Muslims, for example, just to Christians, and selectively", an official stated. She refused to explain what "selectively" means.

5 April 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Cancer sufferer freed, other cases continue

Transferred by train from Pavlodar labour camp to cancer hospital in Almaty, Jehovah's Witness pensioner Teymur Akhmedov was pardoned and freed on 4 April. Prosecutors say a criminal case against a Protestant pastor will "soon" be closed down. Prosecutors are still investigating a five-year-old criminal case against an atheist. The trial of three Muslims continues in Karaganda.

26 March 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: Raid, filming, fingerprinting, insults, criminal case

"Anti-extremism" police raided Kyzylorda's New Life Church, halted Sunday worship, filmed those present, and forced them to state why they attend. Teachers from a Special School questioned adult former students why they were present and insulted their faith. Pastor Serik Bisembayev faces criminal investigation for "inciting discord".

15 March 2018

KAZAKHSTAN: One church, two prosecutions

Shymkent's New Life Protestant Church was fined for having three not five fire detectors in a storage building and banned for one month. The ban will go into force if the church's appeal fails. But the court acquitted a church member of helping an apparent police agent provocateur download a Bible onto her phone.

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