Increasing numbers of Christians in Kazakhstan are being given short-term prison sentences for refusing to pay fines linked to their religious activity. A Baptist named Nikolai Novikov became the fourteenth individual known to have been jailed this year for refusing to pay such a fine.
He served five days in prison in West Kazakhstan region: his fine was imposed for his role in a congregation that refuses to seek state permission to meet for worship. In July, another Baptist, Anatoly Stakhnev, served ten days in a jail in East Kazakhstan Region for refusing to pay a fine on the same charges.
Fines are now regularly imposed for violations of the harsh 2011 Religion Law, including distributing religious literature, talking to other people about religion and meeting with others for worship, without compulsory state registration or licence. Social projects run by religious groups are also coming under scrutiny. In the first ten weeks of 2014 alone, 45 such fines were handed down. Generally, they equate to one or two months’ average wages.
Source: Release International, Forum 18
- Pray that God will strengthen the faith of Christians in Kazakhstan. Pray for ever-greater unity in the body of Christ in that nation.
- Pray that God will sustain and provide for those who come into conflict with the law for their religious activity.
- Pray the Lord will reveal Himself to many people who are currently in authority in this nation.