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The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one’s belief or religion
The right to join together and express one’s belief

KAZAKHSTAN: 24 criminal convictions in 2017, more imminent?

Zholbarys Zhumanazarov – jailed for one year in Almaty Region for alleged membership of the Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary movement – became the 24th known individual given a criminal conviction in 2017 for exercising freedom of religion and belief. The criminal trial of three more begins in Karaganda on 12 March.

KAZAKHSTAN: 284 administrative prosecutions in 2017 - list

Full list of 284 known administrative prosecutions in 2017 to punish exercising freedom of religion or belief. Of these, 263 ended up with punishments, including fines, a short-term jail term, deportations, worship bans, seizures and destruction of religious literature.

KAZAKHSTAN: 284 known administrative prosecutions in 2017

In 284 known administrative prosecutions in 2017, 263 individuals, religious communities, charities and companies were punished for worship meetings, offering or importing religious literature and pictures (including online), sharing or teaching faith, posting material online, praying in mosques, allowing a parent to bring a child to meetings, inadequate security measures or failing to pay earlier fines.

KAZAKHSTAN: Six await trial; cancer sufferer not freed

Three of six Muslims arrested in October 2017 have had pre-trial detention extended for two more months. All six face up to two years' imprisonment if convicted of involvement in missionary movement Tabligh Jamaat. A second United Nations body has called for Jehovah's Witness prisoner of conscience, cancer-sufferer Teymur Akhmedov to be freed.

KAZAKHSTAN: Compulsory re-registration if restrictions become law

Amending Law imposing new restrictions on freedom of religion or belief is now with Prime Minister. If adopted, it will require re-registration of almost all religious communities, and impose new restrictions on and punishments for religious education, sharing beliefs, censorship of literature and (for state officials) participating in worship.

KAZAKHSTAN: Continuing attempts to stop communities meeting

Baptists in Ekibastuz have been fined and told that they "should not meet for worship until they register". Meetings for worship by Oskemen's New Life Church remain banned until 19 December after church members, relatives and friends sang religious songs without state permission. Officials would not explain why football fans don't need permission to publicly sing songs but religious believers do.

KAZAKHSTAN: Six more arrests for sharing faith

Six Sunni Muslims arrested in Karaganda are under criminal investigation for alleged membership of a Muslim missionary movement. Three of them are in pre-trial detention. All known criminal cases against conscientious objectors have been dropped.

KAZAKHSTAN: UN call for prisoner of conscience's release

A Baptist has been given a criminal conviction for refusal to pay a fine for – as the Constitution allows - handing out religious literature on the street. And the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for a prisoner of conscience's "immediate" release.

KAZAKHSTAN: More restrictions to Parliament in December?

More restrictions on exercising freedom of religion and belief may reach Parliament in December. The latest October draft includes restrictions on parents' and childrens' freedom, more sharing belief restrictions, and more censorship. The draft ignores previous UN Human Rights Committee and OSCE legal recommendations.

KAZAKHSTAN: Criminal cases, and no alternative service

Four Jehovah's Witness young men could face up to one year's imprisonment for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience if criminal investigations against them reach court. Military Conscription Offices rejected their certificates as religious ministers despite the law granting exemption to "clergy of registered religious associations".

KAZAKHSTAN: Worship banned

Courts banned worship by Almaty's Source of Life Protestant Church from April to July, Almaty's Jehovah's Witness Centre from August to November, and – if its appeal fails – Oskemen's New Life Protestant Church for three months. Jehovah's Witnesses described their ban as "a grossly disproportionate penalty".

KAZAKHSTAN: 22nd known 2017 criminal conviction

Sunni Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov was jailed for eight years for inciting religious hatred "with serious consequences", charges he denied. He is the 22nd individual convicted in 2017. Seven others jailed have failed in their appeals. One of two criminal cases against atheist Aleksandr Kharlamov has been closed.

KAZAKHSTAN: More legal restrictions to reach parliament

Legal amendments to 4 Codes and 13 Laws (including the already restrictive Religion Law) about to reach parliament seem set to impose further controls and punishments for non-state-approved religious teaching, confiscate religious literature which fails to pass the state censorship, and allow religious organisations to be banned.

KAZAKHSTAN: Four years' jail for sharing faith

Tekeli Court in Almaty Region jailed 25-year-old Iliyan Raiymzhan for four years for alleged membership of Muslim missionary movement Tabligh Jamaat. The Prosecutor claimed "society suffered" because of Raiymzhan's exercise of freedom of religion, but refused to say how or identify any specific victims.

KAZAKHSTAN: Six fines, one deportation for baptism

After a Protestant Pastor and five foreign guests held baptisms in hot springs near Almaty, a court fined all six and ordered one foreigner deported, deeming they had conducted illegal "missionary activity". A Baptist pastor succeeded in overturning a police fine for leading his church.

KAZAKHSTAN: Fines for offering religious literature

After Transport Police found nine Muslim books in an Astana Airport gift shop, a court fined the company and ordered the shop section closed for three months. This is one of 15 cases to punish freedom of religion so far in one court in 2017.

KAZAKHSTAN: Twentieth known 2017 criminal conviction

Sunni Muslim Dmitry Tsilenko, jailed for three years for alleged membership of banned Muslim missionary movement Tabligh Jamaat, is the 20th individual known to have been criminally convicted in 2017 for exercising freedom of religion or belief. Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov's trial began on 25 July.

KAZAKHSTAN: Another jail term, another trial imminent

Satymzhan Azatov was jailed for four years eight months for inciting religious discord and promoting terrorism, which he denied. He is the fourth Muslim who studied in Saudi Arabia convicted in 2017. The trial of Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov, punished in Investigation Prison for observing Ramadan, is imminent.

KAZAKHSTAN: Six jailed for sharing faith

Six months after arrest, six Sunni Muslims were jailed in Atyrau for between two and three years for sharing their faith, with post-prison bans on religious activity. Their bank accounts are likely to be frozen. They are among 18 known criminal convictions in 2017.

KAZAKHSTAN: Secret trial after six months' imprisonment

At a closed trial in Atyrau in a secret police-initiated case, with the lawyers sworn to secrecy, six Sunni Muslims face possible years of imprisonment for talking to others of their faith. Jehovah's Witness cancer sufferer Teymur Akhmedov failed to overturn his five-year prison term.

KAZAKHSTAN: Five years' jail for Islamic talks

Sunni Muslim Nariman Seytzhanov was given five years' jail for "inciting religious discord" by talking about schools of Islam to Kazakh pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. Satymzhan Azatov's trial on similar charges continues in Astana on 21 June. Five years' suspended sentence handed down in Almaty.

KAZAKHSTAN: Fingerprints, mugshots, fines follow worship raid

After one of many recent raids on Baptist Sunday meetings for worship in Taraz, police took 21 people present to the police station. Claiming they were looking for criminals, officers fingerprinted and photographed them and took addresses and personal data. Police issued summary fines.

KAZAKHSTAN: "Anti-extremism" raid captures Koran

An "anti-extremism" raid on a Kokshetau shop captured a Koran and other Muslim books. The seller was fined for selling religious materials without state permission. She will have to appeal if she wants to regain the books. Icon and book sellers are often fined.

KAZAKHSTAN: Five years jail, three year ban

Jehovah's Witness prisoner of conscience, pensioner and cancer-sufferer Teymur Akhmedov was jailed in Astana on 2 May for five years and banned for a further three years from conducting "ideological/preaching activity". He denied KNB secret police charges of "inciting religious discord" and will appeal.

KAZAKHSTAN: Fined for Easter worship

Police fined four Baptists for leading Easter worship meetings in Temirtau and Taraz. Council of Churches Baptists speak of a "new wave" of raids. An Almaty court fined a Protestant church and banned all its activity for three months, and ordered a foreigner deported.

KAZAKHSTAN: Islamic study in Saudi Arabia a crime?

Of five Kazakh Sunni Muslims facing criminal prosecution after studying their faith in Saudi Arabia, one has already been sentenced, two face imminent trial and two remain in pre-trial detention. The trial of Nariman Seytzhanov is due to begin in Kokshetau on 25 April.

KAZAKHSTAN: Eight Muslim prisoners of conscience sentenced

Kuanysh Bashpayev was jailed for four and a half years at a closed trial in Pavlodar for "inciting religious hatred" for speaking about Islam. Seven Muslims were jailed in South Kazakhstan for up to four years for alleged membership of Tabligh Jamaat missionary movement.

KAZAKHSTAN: Lawyers now face trial for defending client

The two lawyers for a Jehovah's Witness now on trial in Astana are themselves under criminal investigation. The KNB secret police investigator accuses them of "revealing information from a pre-trial investigation" by appealing to President Nazarbayev for the case against their client to be halted.

KAZAKHSTAN: Fined for praying "Amen" in mosque

The state is prosecuting and fining Muslims for saying the word "Amen" aloud in mosques, after November 2016 Muslim Board behaviour regulations were imposed. Also, moves have begun in one region for the state-backed Muslim Board to seize mosque building ownership.

KAZAKHSTAN: Article 174 cases increase, Cancer sufferer tortured

Jehovah's Witness Asaf Guliyev was given five years' restricted freedom on 24 February. Fellow Jehovah's Witness Teymur Akhmedov, a cancer sufferer, is in pre-trial detention and states he was tortured. Guliyev's conviction is one of an increasing number of Criminal Code Article 174 cases.

KAZAKHSTAN: Imam imprisoned after 10 years' absence

Immediately Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov arrived in Kazakhstan after over 10 years' absence, KNB secret police arrested the Sunni Muslim teacher. They transferred Imam Abduzhabbarov to Oral, where he awaits criminal trial for allegedly "inciting religious hatred or discord" and "terrorism".

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.

KAZAKHSTAN: Criminal cases for meeting, criticising Muslim Board

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

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".

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. 47 Muslims have been sentenced since December 2014.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

KAZAKHSTAN: Ten more Sunni Muslims sentenced

Sunni Muslim Baurzhan Beisembai was sentenced in Oskemen to two and a half years' imprisonment for alleged membership of Tabligh Jamaat missionary movement. Six others were imprisoned and two given restricted freedom. A further imprisonment in Aktobe means 41 such convictions since December 2014.

KAZAKHSTAN: Mass trial of Muslims in Oskemen

In a secret police initiated case, nine Sunni Muslims are due on trial in Oskemen on 14 September accused of membership of the banned Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary movement. Arrested in early August, Baurzhan Beisembai faces up to six years' imprisonment if convicted.

KAZAKHSTAN: Pensioners fined as Parliament awaits new Law

Two Baptists in their late seventies were among seven people in East Kazakhstan Region fined for attending a home religious meeting. A new anti-"Extremism" Law, likely to reach Parliament within days, envisages further censorship of religious literature and controls on foreign pilgrimages.

KAZAKHSTAN: "Attracting children" an offence?

Officials, police and journalists raided two Baptist children's summer camps to check if children were present with parents' consent. Also, a Pastor was fined because a church member's granddaughter attended a children's programme. Officials often insist religious organisations need written permission from both parents.

KAZAKHSTAN: Will Judge punish praying pensioners?

On 25 August, a Judge in East Kazakhstan Region will decide whether to fine seven members of a Baptist congregation for meeting for worship without state permission. Two of the seven are aged 78, a decade younger than another Baptist fined in 2016.

KAZAKHSTAN: Sharing faith a state security issue?

Secret police officers hold "conversations" with and warn individuals suspected of talking to others of their faith, official reports from Almaty Region confirm. Talking about religion without state registration is illegal and punishable. Officials refuse to say why this is a state security issue.

KAZAKHSTAN: Government contradicts UN Human Rights Committee

Kazakhstan contradicts new Human Committee recommendations by preparing harsher "extremism" punishments, described by a human rights defender as "to intimidate society". A Muslim prisoner of conscience's appeal has been rejected, and he has not been allowed to know of his father's death and funeral.

KAZAKHSTAN: New summary fines, no due process

In new development, three Council of Churches Baptists in Kazakhstan have been in 2016 fined by police without a court hearing, for meeting for worship without state permission. Human rights defenders know of no earlier cases since police acquired the power in January 2015.

KAZAKHSTAN: How many punished for exercising freedom?

Kazakhstan has misled the UN Human Rights Committee about the numbers of people it has fined and jailed for exercising freedom of religion and belief. Four days after the Human Rights Committee examined the country, Kazakhstan fined three more people for exercising their freedom.