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(Forum 18) – “The ban on the activity of unregistered religious associations and the draconian amendments to the administrative code significantly limit believers’ rights,” Aleksandr Klyushev, of the Association of Religious Organizations of Kazakhstan (AROK) told Forum 18 News Service after 12 May Majlis parliamentary approval of sweeping “national security” amendments to eleven laws. The parliamentary debate had been expected on 18 May, but was suddenly brought forward. Klyuschev said to Forum 18 that “deputies discovered that the discussion of the draft would take place on 11 May only on the day of the session. I believe this was done deliberately to prevent deputies from preparing for the consideration of the draft and from submitting amendments.” Communist party deputy Yerasyl Abylkasymov told Forum 18 that “in the time of Genghis Khan such ideological saboteurs were hung, drawn and quartered.

Alas it is now unfortunately not possible to do this and so we have to defend ourselves by means of laws.” Having been approved by the Majilis, the lower house of parliament, the amendments now go to the upper house, the Senate, for approval.