Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Friday, September 20th, 2013
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Pastor Bakhytzhat Kashkumbayev has been transferred to an Investigation Prison in Astana, Kazakhstan. His detention there has been extended to October 17. The government had refused to reveal his whereabouts, even to his family and lawyer, since his release from a psychiatric ward on September 2, 2013.
Thursday, September 19th, 2013
International Christian Concern (ICC) is deeply troubled by the illegal detention and harsh interrogation methods used against Pastor Bakhytzhat Kashkumbayev. Since being arrested on May 17 on trumped-up charges, Pastor Kashkumbayev has been severely mistreated at the hands of the Kazakh government. The government continues to refuse to disclose his location in apparent attempts to keep him hidden.
Thursday, September 12th, 2013
New Life church of Almaty, Kazakhstan recently were forbidden from having guest preachers at their “Jubilee Conference.” ICC recently met with some of these pastors in Almaty and can confirm that two guest preachers had been invited to speak, but were told by officials that the guests, who travelled from Russia and the Ukraine, could only great the church, but were not allowed to preach. If they did preach, the church would be breaking the law and therefore subject to fines.
Thursday, September 12th, 2013
Pastor Bahtzhan Kashkumbaev was transferred from prison in Astana to a Psychiatric Ward in Almaty a little over a month ago. Pastor Kashkumbaev was hidden from the public eye with everyone, including his family and lawyer, refused visits—something confirmed by ICC in a recent visit to Almaty. While other patients in the ward went for examinations two to three times during this month, Pastor Kashkumbaev was subjected to examinations 19 times. There are reports that the pastor has been released from the ward, but remains in police custody. Whether he is in prison in Almaty or back in Astana remains unclear.
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
The situation remains uncertain for a pastor who was arrested for allegedly attempting to poison attendees at a service in Astana. The charges brought against Pastor Kashkumbayev lack any substance. He had previously been taken to a mental health hospital but was discharged on September 2. His whereabouts are unknown at present and his family has not seen him since his court appearance in May. ICC had previously collected signatures for a petition on behalf of Pastor Kashkumbayev.
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
The abuse of religious minorities and the assault on religious freedom has risen to new levels in Kazakhstan. The government has now fined individuals simply for inviting people to a scheduled and registered religious event. A Jehovah’s Witness man was fined for “illegal missionary activity” as a result of send a text message to friends inviting them to the meeting. This kind of government intervention is in complete violation of any understanding of religious freedom and violates both the constitutional and the international agreements of Kazakhstan.
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Ruled by dictator president Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan is one of Central Asia's more oppressive states. After the fall of the Soviet Union and independence for the nation came in 1991, religious adherence, which had been illegal under the Soviets, exploded. Today approximately 26% of the nearly 18 million strong population is Christian. Unfortunately complete religious freedom remains illusive and recent crackdowns on Christian churches and pastors for practicing their faith without state permission have left at least one pastor in detention and several others facing heft fines.
Saturday, July 27th, 2013
When Almenova found out that Pastor Kashkumbayev was arrested for poisoning her communion juice, she stepped forward to say that he “is totally innocent and has not harmed my health at all.” In response to this, she told Forum 18 that, “The authorities forcibly put me in a psychiatric ward between 23 February and 13 March for psychological assessment, for the second time, to find me mentally ill in order to disregard my appeals and petitions in favour of Pastor Kashkumbayev as someone who is not answerable for my actions and words…I was given injections that made me very apathetic and passive". She told Forum 18 that she was not told what she was being injected with.
Friday, July 26th, 2013
A wrongly imprisoned pastor in Kazakhstan, named Bakhytzhan Kashumbayev , has declared through his lawyer that he is on a hunger strike in protest to his treatment. Earlier this month ICC released a petition demanding his release. The pastor was imprisoned based on accusations that he poisoned the communion juice, therefore damaging the health of a parishioner, Lyazzat Almenova. However, despite the fact that Almenova maintains that no such thing happened, and that the communion juice turned out to be merely red tea, Kashumbayev was arrested and jailed. Please sign our petition and demand his immediate release.
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Religious freedom for Christians in Kazakhstan is infringed upon in many ways. From fines to jail time to false accusations, believers struggle to meet together for worship without repercussion.
Friday, July 19th, 2013
Kazakhstan has not made good on its human rights promises to the U.N. Torture and mistreatment continues to run rampant, and many allegations against officials are ignored or go unprosecuted. Despite repeated pledges by the authorities, the situation has not visibly improved. ICC joins Amnesty International and the United Nations in decrying these violations of human rights in Kazakhstan.
Thursday, July 11th, 2013
International Christian Concern (ICC) has launched a petition calling for the immediate and unconditional release of a Pastor in Kazakhstan who has been imprisoned on trumped-up charges.
Tuesday, July 9th, 2013
Kazakhstan’s true colors are showing in regards to freedom of religion as it pertains to Christians. With ever rising fines and a new travel ban, which is viewed as “double punishment,” Christians are feeling harassed for merely practicing their right to religious freedom.
Monday, July 1st, 2013
A Christian Uzbek refugee was arrested in Kazakhstan in 2012 on charges of “conducting extremist religious activities.” The man has just been extradited to Uzbekistan, in violation of orders from the United Nations (UN), a country that is known for torture and abuse of religious prisoners is routine. The family and friends believe that this man is innocent and maintain that he was unfairly tried on fabricated charges.
Friday, June 21st, 2013
“The capital of Kazakhstan became a traditional dialogue platform for representatives of world religions on acute questions of supporting and providing peace based on tolerance, mutual understanding, and cooperation.” And while this may be true, it takes more than words. Later in this article, Father Peter of the Russian Orthodox University asks for religious material to be translated into Russian. He explains that for religions to understand each other, they must understand themselves. The reason he has to ask for this is that much religious literature in Kazakhstan is often censored. While this article attempts to show that Kazakhstan extends religious freedom and encourages different religions to work together, the truth is that this is not what life is like for religious minorities in everyday life.
Thursday, June 20th, 2013
In its attempts to counter terrorism, Kazakhstan has “cast the net too far” in its restrictions of religious groups, including Christians. While this article seems to lean towards support of the government, we feel that the government has infringed on the religious freedoms of its people. “It’s very, very clear what the intent of the government is: to ratchet up the controls that already exist on all kinds of religious activities, when people should be free to get involved in them without state permission or state controls,” said Felix Corley of Forum 18.
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
In the last 6 months in Kazakhstan over 100 administrative punishments (harsh fines) have been doled out for “meeting for worship without state permission or for sharing faith with others.” Also, Grace Protestant Church’s pastor—Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev remains in pre-trial detention facing charges of “inciting religious hatred” and harming the health of his parishioners by serving them tea during communion.
Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Christians in Kazakhstan who have been fined for their religious activity, an act which violates their right to religious freedom, can now also be restricted from traveling outside the country. This “travel ban” is in place as a way to force them to pay their fines, but Baptists—they are particularly targeted—take this as a double punishment of sorts. Baptists in Kazakhstan regularly refuse to register their churches and religious activities with the government as an act of civil disobedience
Sunday, June 9th, 2013
Things have been steadily heating up in Central Asia. It seems that Islamic extremism is increasing and that religious minorities, including Christians, will be the ones to suffer. Recent cases in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are focused on in this article.
Friday, June 7th, 2013
The collapse of the Soviet Union caused a growth in Islam and Extremism in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Predictions are now being made that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 will “have a destabilizing effect on the whole region.” The prediction is that Islamic extremism will increase in the next few years and that Central Asia will need to be closely monitored.
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
A pastor in Kazakhstan was arrested earlier this year, and while that is not entirely uncommon for the region, this arrest comes with a “twist”: the pastor is a Christian who converted from Islam. Some think the pastor was targeted for that reason as this Muslim majority nation believes that “if you are Muslim, you should stay Muslim. If you are Christian, you should stay Christian."
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
When Aleksei gathered with his friends for worship he didn’t feel that he was doing anything punishable by law. However, the authorities beg to differ, as they fined him a steep fine as punishment. Aleksei refused to pay it, again stating that he did nothing wrong. Once he refused to pay the fine, he was jailed for three days for “failure to carry out court decisions.”
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
The accusations keep changing! First Pastor Kashkumbayev was told he was arrested for putting “hallucinogens” in the communion “wine” (it’s actually tea). Now the accusation is that he was “praying in tongues and singing” which caused a lady to “lose her mind.” The courts recently upheld an order that this pastor must remain in prison for two months pre-trial. “Prosecutors have long been seeking to punish the leaders of Grace Church, but the reason or reasons for this remain unclear.” Now, it seems, a pastor must languish in prison with unclear charges.
Sunday, May 19th, 2013
With a new “anti-extremism” program pending in Kazakhstan, many are concerned that persecution of Christians, and other religious minorities, will increase. For example, “If adopted in its current form, all places of worship would require security systems and require the teaching of what the government calls ‘traditional religions.’”
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
A new form of persecution seems to be emerging in Kazakhstan through staged attempts to frame and discredit Christians. In at least one such case, a pastor was forced to take his case public and speak out against the perpetrators.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
A new State Programme to Counter Religious Extremism and Terrorism is being proposed in Kazakhstan. If adopted “as is” it will violate freedom of religion of many religious minorities, including Christians. The Plan has 74 measures, three of which are: "Uncover and halt the activity of illegally functioning places of worship"; "Uncover and halt the distribution of religious literature and informational materials of religious content in non-approved locations"; "Uncover and halt the carrying out on the territory of the country of illegal missionary activity."
Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Censorship of printed and imported religious literature, controls on when and whether it can be disseminated and the banning of publicly discussing your faith all lead to the conclusion that religious freedom and religious free speech in Kazakhstan “doesn’t exist.”
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
The Country of Kazakhstan seems to have a problem when it comes to their actions supporting their words. Not long after the President said that “religious freedom is fully secured,” seven Christians, more than half of them elderly, were given hefty fines for worshiping together in their homes. One of the victims has asked for “People to reach out to President Nazarbayev ‘so that he would hear us and resolve the problem with the authorities, i.e. the police and the courts’.”
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
A little good news for Believers has come out of the courts of Kazakhstan. Christian literature confiscated from an Evangelist has been returned. Usually, this type of literature is not returned and tends to be burned. This is great news. The evangelist is quoted as saying, "Thank God they didn’t destroy my books."
Friday, April 19th, 2013
It seems that a “law-enforcement agency” attempted to frame a pastor and members of his congregation when they went to a Sauna. Apparently, the “law-enforcement” officer told the Sauna staff to let two girls in after the Believers arrived, saying, "most important thing was to let the girls in and that they should be able to take off all their clothes. And after that, two police officers will arrive." The Pastor told reporters that he was “he was going public on this case to try to prevent such methods being used in future.”