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ICC Note:

Despite Kazakhstan’s constitutional guarantee to freely exercise one’s faith, a group of 20 Baptists were fined for “participation in an unregistered, halted or banned religious community or social organization.” The Christians who have been fined wrote complaints about the mandate to register because registering violates the constitutional freedom to gather together for peaceful meetings. Despite the complaints, the pastor was fined almost $700 while the other members were fined almost $350. Experts expect the fines for religious violations to increase in 2018 because of recent amendments to religious laws.  

11/30/2017 Kazakhstan (World Watch Monitor) – Baptists in Ekibastuz, north-eastern Kazakhstan, have been fined for holding meetings not registered with the authorities, reports regional news agency Forum 18.

Officials raided the Baptists’ church during a Sunday service on 29 October and detained most of those present. Twenty church members were later fined under Administrative Offences’ Article 489 for “participation in an unregistered, halted or banned religious community or social organisation”.

The leader of the church, Pastor Asetov, told Forum 18 that the Baptists did not agree with the statements the police gave them to sign, which accused everyone at the meeting on 29 October of the unlawful unregistered exercise of freedom of religion and belief.

“We wrote complaints to the Prosecutors Office that the authorities must not force us to register, because Kazakhstan’s Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and allows people to gather together for peaceful meetings,” he said.

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