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ICC Note: 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. 

9/04/2013 Kazakhstan (Forum 18) – Meanwhile, the criminal investigation also continues against Presbyterian Pastor Kashkumbayev of Grace Church in Astana. He was arrested on 17 May on criminal charges of “harming health”. The only person whose heath the state claims was harmed told Forum 18 that Kashkumbayev is “totally innocent and has not harmed my health at all” (see F18News 26 July 2013 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1860).
On 9 August – while he was already undergoing an enforced psychiatric assessment – Almaty District Court in Astana extended Pastor Kashkumbayev’s detention for a further month – until 17 September – at the request of the investigator in the case, Captain Vyacheslav Glazkov (see F18News 22 August 2013 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1868).
Pastor back in Investigation Prison?
Pastor Kashkumbayev was discharged on 2 September from Almaty’s Republican Scientific/Practical Centre of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Narcology, its chief doctor Natalya Logacheva told Forum 18 from Almaty on 4 September. “He was taken away by convoy,” she said, but insisted she did not know where he had been taken.
Pastor Kashkumbayev had been sent to the Centre on 5 August from the Investigation Prison in Almaty, and it is presumed he would initially have been transferred back there. However, officials there refused to put Forum 18 through to prison head Aleksei Orishchenko on 4 September. Nor would they confirm that Pastor Kashkumbayev had been transferred back there or whether he was still there.
Investigator Glazkov refused to give any information about Pastor Kashkumbayev’s whereabouts or the progress of the case against him. “The criminal investigation is still underway,” was all he would say to Forum 18 on 4 September.
Grace Church members in Astana said they had heard nothing about Pastor Kashkumbayev’s transfer from the psychiatric hospital. However, they expect him to be transferred back to the Investigation Prison in Astana. “We know that he was not there in the prison here today, but when he’ll arrive back there we don’t know,” one church member told Forum 18 on 4 September.
Askar Kashkumbayev, one of the pastor’s sons, lamented that family members have been unable to even see his father since his arrest. “I last saw him in court on 17 May,” he told Forum 18 from Astana on 4 September. He added that relatives in Almaty had been able to take food parcels to him while he was being held there, but they too were not allowed to see him.

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