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ICC Note: A court in Kazakhstan fined Shymkent’s New Life Protestant Church and forced them to shut down for one month. The reason: only having three fire detectors in an old storage building. A fire inspector who charged the church did not order the installation via writing. He verbally communicated the need for additional fire detectors and gave the church one month to install them. Even after installation within a month, the fire inspector still charged the church.  

03/18/2018 Kazakhstan (Forum 18) – A court in Shymkent in South Kazakhstan Region fined and banned for a month the Protestant New Life Church for having only three rather than five fire detectors in a building on church property used for storage only. The fire inspector who brought the case refused to explain to Forum 18 why he did not issue the order to install the extra fire detectors in writing and why the church was punished despite having installed the extra detectors he demanded within the specified one month.

All exercise of the right to freedom of religion or belief without state permission is banned on Kazakhstan, in defiance of the country’s international human rights commitments (see Forum 18’s Kazakhstan religious freedom survey

The one-month ban, therefore, means that the entire church community’s exercise of the right to freedom of religion or belief will be banned for one month when the ban comes into force. Only if the Regional Court overturns the lower court decision will the Church avoid being banned (see below).

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