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Kazakhstan: Christian Jailed For Not Paying Fine After Raid

In Kazakhstan, common religious activity does not escape the sanction of the state, even within the privacy of the home. Acts such as prayer or gathering to worship with other believers may be fined, and more serious punishments may follow a refusal to pay the fine. Denis Yenenko’s story is one among many; he was fined for holding a worship service in his own home, and thrown into jail for six days when he refused to comply with the fine.

By Joseph DeCaro

5/16/2014 Kazakhstan (ChristianPersecutionInfo) – A Christian father of three has been jailed in Kazakhstan for refusing to pay a fine for leading a worship service in his own home, according to Barnabas Aid.

Denis Yenenko was imprisoned for six days last month after failing to pay 86,550 Tenge (US$475) following a raid on his house in Sergeyevka last year. During his detention, Yenenko had developed a severe toothache, but he was left to suffer for four days before the tooth was finally extracted.

Yenenko was originally fined for “participation in the activity of an unregistered, halted or banned religious community or social organization” after eight worshippers were found singing psalms during a meeting in his home.

This year alone, 39 people have been fined for exercising their religious freedoms in Kazakhstan. Of these, 33 were Baptists whose denomination refuses on principle to seek state permission for its religious activities.

“A main problem concerning the administration of religious registration is that non-registered religious groups can hardly exercise any collective religious functions in Kazakhstan,” said Heiner Bielefeldt, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. “Any of their activities — even the common performance of prayers and rituals in private homes — are deemed illegal and can incur serious administrative sanctions.”

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