f18 Logo

The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one’s belief or religion
The right to join together and express one’s belief

KAZAKHSTAN: Eight Muslim prisoners of conscience sentenced

Kuanysh Bashpayev was jailed for four and a half years at a closed trial in Pavlodar for "inciting religious hatred" for speaking about Islam. Seven Muslims were jailed in South Kazakhstan for up to four years for alleged membership of Tabligh Jamaat missionary movement.

KAZAKHSTAN: Lawyers now face trial for defending client

The two lawyers for a Jehovah's Witness now on trial in Astana are themselves under criminal investigation. The KNB secret police investigator accuses them of "revealing information from a pre-trial investigation" by appealing to President Nazarbayev for the case against their client to be halted.

KAZAKHSTAN: Fined for praying "Amen" in mosque

The state is prosecuting and fining Muslims for saying the word "Amen" aloud in mosques, after November 2016 Muslim Board behaviour regulations were imposed. Also, moves have begun in one region for the state-backed Muslim Board to seize mosque building ownership.

KAZAKHSTAN: Article 174 cases increase, Cancer sufferer tortured

Jehovah's Witness Asaf Guliyev was given five years' restricted freedom on 24 February. Fellow Jehovah's Witness Teymur Akhmedov, a cancer sufferer, is in pre-trial detention and states he was tortured. Guliyev's conviction is one of an increasing number of Criminal Code Article 174 cases.

KAZAKHSTAN: Imam imprisoned after 10 years' absence

Immediately Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov arrived in Kazakhstan after over 10 years' absence, KNB secret police arrested the Sunni Muslim teacher. They transferred Imam Abduzhabbarov to Oral, where he awaits criminal trial for allegedly "inciting religious hatred or discord" and "terrorism".

KAZAKHSTAN: Atheist writer faces more criminal charges

Atheist writer Aleksandr Kharlamov faces new criminal charges for a 2014 book. Police searched his home, confiscated books, and brought charges after he sought closure of the 2013 case. "They decided to protect themselves and take new action against me," he told Forum 18.

KAZAKHSTAN: Criminal cases for meeting, criticising Muslim Board

Kazakhstan has detained Kuanysh Bashpayev for criticising the state-controlled Muslim Board, and Satymzhan Azatov for meeting Muslims without state permission. Both face criminal charges of "inciting religious discord", as does atheist Aleksandr Kharlamov facing a possible new trial. Bashpayev's trial opens 14 February.

KAZAKHSTAN: Sharing beliefs "grave crime" requiring detention?

Kazakhstan's KNB secret police has arrested two Jehovah's Witnesses for discussing their faith with KNB informers. Teymur Akhmedov and Asaf Guliyev are in two months' pre-trial detention, although Akhmedov needs hospitalisation for cancer treatment. The Judge claimed this was to defend a "civilised society".

KAZAKHSTAN: Five more Sunni Muslim "missionaries" imprisoned

Five Sunni Muslims in Almaty Region - arrested by the KNB secret police in July 2016 – were imprisoned in late December for up to 3 years for alleged membership of the banned Tabligh Jamaat missionary movement. 47 Muslims have been sentenced since December 2014.

KAZAKHSTAN: New controls on religious travel and literature

"Anti-terrorism" legal changes ignoring OSCE recommendations impose foreign religious travel controls, restrict religion book imports "for personal use" to one copy per title, and reinforce state censorship of books and materials on religion. An "anti-extremism" campaign against freedom of religion and belief is planned.

KAZAKHSTAN: Pensioners fined for praying with pensioners

Three pensioners were fined more than two months' pension for praying with hospice residents and offering New Testaments. Courts fined a yoga teacher and a bookseller for offering religious literature without compulsory state licences. But authorities abandoned attempts to restrict judges' freedom of religion.

KAZAKHSTAN: Trial if imam's Istanbul asylum bid fails?

Imam Abdukhalil Abduzhabbarov – in Istanbul Airport with his family since October after deportation from Saudi Arabia - faces criminal trial in his native Kazakhstan if asylum appeal in Turkey fails. The KNB secret police officer who launched the case refused to reveal the accusations.