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ICC Note:
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.
07/25/2013 Kazakhstan (Radiofree Europe) –A jailed Christian pastor in Kazakhstan accused of using mind-altering drinks to pry donations from a member of his congregation has gone on a hunger strike to protest his treatment by authorities.
Bakhtzhan Kashkumbaev announced in a letter on July 18 that he was launching a hunger strike. The action came amid reports that authorities were planning to transfer him to a psychiatric facility to undergo a compulsory mental-health examination.
The pastor says the examination is aimed at locking him up in a psychiatric hospital.
The 67-year-old Kashkumbaev was arrested in May on charges of “intentionally inflicting serious harm” on the health of a member of his Blagodat Baptist church two years ago. If found guilty, he could face up to seven years in prison.
Kazakhstan has Central Asia’s largest population of evangelical Christian Baptists, estimated at more than 10,000. Kashkumbaev, an ethnic Kazakh and Christian convert, has been a pastor at the church in Astana since 1995.
According to Kashkumbaev’s arrest order, he is accused of exerting “psychological influence” on church member Lyazzat Almenova through the use of mind-altering drinks, sermons, and prayers in order to compel her to donate money to the church.
Kazakh media have reported that testing revealed that the mind-altering drink in question turned out to be red tea purchased from local suppliers.

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