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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.

10 October 2016

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.

7 September 2016

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.

31 August 2016

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.

23 August 2016

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.

18 August 2016

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.

12 August 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.

22 July 2016

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.

18 July 2016

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.

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