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17 February 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Atheist writer faces more criminal charges

Atheist writer Aleksandr Kharlamov faces new criminal charges for a 2014 book. Police searched his home, confiscated books, and brought charges after he sought closure of the 2013 case. "They decided to protect themselves and take new action against me," he told Forum 18.

6 February 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Criminal cases for meeting, criticising Muslim Board

Kazakhstan has detained Kuanysh Bashpayev for criticising the state-controlled Muslim Board, and Satimzhan Azatov for meeting Muslims without state permission. Both face criminal charges of "inciting religious hatred or discord", as does atheist Aleksandr Kharlamov facing a possible new trial. Bashpayev's trial opens 14 February.

2 February 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Sharing beliefs "grave crime" requiring detention?

Kazakhstan's KNB secret police has arrested two Jehovah's Witnesses for discussing their faith with KNB informers. Teymur Akhmedov and Asaf Guliyev are in two months' pre-trial detention, although Akhmedov needs hospitalisation for cancer treatment. The Judge claimed this was to defend a "civilised society".

9 January 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: Five more Sunni Muslim "missionaries" imprisoned

Five Sunni Muslims in Almaty Region - arrested by the KNB secret police in July 2016 – were imprisoned in late December for up to 3 years for alleged membership of the banned Tabligh Jamaat missionary movement. 46 Muslims have been sentenced since December 2014.

5 January 2017

KAZAKHSTAN: New controls on religious travel and literature

"Anti-terrorism" legal changes ignoring OSCE recommendations impose foreign religious travel controls, restrict religion book imports "for personal use" to one copy per title, and reinforce state censorship of books and materials on religion. An "anti-extremism" campaign against freedom of religion and belief is planned.

16 December 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Pensioners fined for praying with pensioners

Three pensioners were fined more than two months' pension for praying with hospice residents and offering New Testaments. Courts fined a yoga teacher and a bookseller for offering religious literature without compulsory state licences. But authorities abandoned attempts to restrict judges' freedom of religion.

24 November 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Trial if imam's Istanbul asylum bid fails?

Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov – in Istanbul Airport with his family since October after deportation from Saudi Arabia - faces criminal trial in his native Kazakhstan if asylum appeal in Turkey fails. The KNB secret police officer who launched the case refused to reveal the accusations.

10 November 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Muslim jailed and fined, books banned

Rustam Musayev was jailed for two years for talking about his Islamic faith to KNB secret police informers. "Expert analyses" claimed two books Musayev allegedly offered incited religious hatred. One of these books – with one not claimed to incite religious hatred - was banned.

21 October 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Judges' religious freedom to be restricted?

The draft Code of Judges' Ethics – likely to be adopted at a 24 November congress - proposes wide-ranging bans on exercising freedom of religion outside the professional setting. Judges "shouldn't be very active in their religious conduct", says the Union of Judges secretary.

17 October 2016

KAZAKHSTAN: Criminal case, fines, warnings, imprisonments for uncensored literature

Founder of Muslim WhatsApp group escapes criminal prosecution, but is fined for distributing uncensored religious literature. Baptists are fined for offering literature on the streets, while parents of one girl who did so are warned and father fined. The OSCE calls for end to religious censorship.

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