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On 14 and 17 October, mobs in two different villages of Kyrgyzstan’s western Jalal-Abad Region exhumed the body of deceased Protestant Kanygul Satybaldiyeva, a 76-year old member of Jesus Christ Protestant Church.

They objected to the burial of a non-Muslim in public village cemeteries. Police and National Security Committee (NSC) secret police officers, as well as local and regional officials, observed the exhumations but did nothing to stop them.

Amid contradictory official assertions of what they did with the body after the second exhumation, Satybaldiyeva’s family as of the evening of 19 October did not know where the body is.

“I pray that they did not throw away the body somewhere,” Satybaldiyeva’s daughter, Zhyldyz Azayeva, lamented. “I hope that we can soon find out where my mother’s body is.”

“I continue in my faith in Jesus Christ but I am afraid for my own life, for my 19-year old daughter and 80-year old father,” Azayeva added. “I would like to move out of the area, but cannot leave my father behind.”

“We just want peace and that we can peacefully practise our faith,” Pastor Nurgazy Babanazarov of the local Protestant community said. “I don’t know whether the Imams are provoking people. Whoever is organising this does it for one purpose, to humiliate in the eyes of society Kyrgyz who became Christian.”

Mob interference in the rights of families and communities to bury their deceased with the rites and in the cemetery of their choice is not the only violence individuals who are not from the dominant Muslim community can face because of their faith. Officials sometimes choose not to stop such violence nor to punish the perpetrators.

Source: Forum 18

 Prayer Points

  • Please uphold the family at this destressing time. May the Lord minister to them in their grief and protect them from any who may wish to bring further harm.
  • Pray the family will receive word regarding the current resting place, but regardless, may they rest and even rejoice in the knowledge that Kanygul Satybaldiyeva is with the Lord.
  • Pray this incident may be used by the Lord to bring change in the community. Pray the Lord would grant wisdom to the authorities as well as mercy and compassion.