FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7/11/2013 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)—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.
Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev (B.K.) of Grace Church in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, was arrested on May 17 for harming the health of his congregants by allegedly infusing hallucinogens into the communion juice. On May 19, B.K. was “ordered to be held for two months’ pre-trial detention on unclear charges, apparently including praying and singing,” reports Forum 18. B.K. has been locked in a “Temporary Isolation Prison” while he awaits trial.
With deep roots in the Soviet Union, the government of Kazakhstan is one of the more brutal regimes in Central Asia. Religious minorities, including Christians, often face harsh restrictions on their activities. Violations of these restrictions result in high fines and time in prison. As prisoner abuse, especially of religious prisoners, is common in Kazakhstan, ICC is asking for Pastor B.K.’s immediate and unconditional release.
Corey Bailey, ICC’s Regional Manager for Central Asia, says, “As ridiculous as it may seem to accuse Pastor Bakhytzhan. of lacing communion juice with hallucinogens, this type of harassment is common. Kazakhstan has a reputation for horrible treatment of prisoners. The longer Pastor Bakhytzhan remains in prison, the higher the chance he will be tortured. The government of Kazakhstan must end its inhumane treatment of prisoners as well as immediately release Pastor Bakhytzhan from this wrongful imprisonment.”
If you would like to raise your voice on behalf of Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, please contact the Embassy of Kazakhstan and sign ICC’s petition.
Embassy of Kazakhstan
Ambassador Kairat Umarov
For interviews, contact Corey Bailey: RM-Asia@persecution.org
You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.