Police raided at least two Baptist meetings for worship on Easter Sunday, in the central city of Temirtau and the southern city of Taraz.
Officers issued four summary fines totalling about nine months’ average wages with no court hearings. Such fines for meeting for worship are increasing, Baptists complained to Forum 18.
In a separate case, a court in the southern city of Almaty has banned a Protestant church from meeting for three months.
The court also fined the church for holding a meeting for worship in a place other than its registered address. An Indian citizen associated with the church is appealing against a fine and deportation order.
An official of Almaty’s Religious Affairs Department, Karshyga Malik, said on 24 April that the administrative cases against the church and the Indian citizen were among 33 it had launched since the beginning of 2017. The cases were to punish those who meet without state permission, meet in places without state permission, distribute religious literature without state permission or talk to others of their faith without state permission.
Police raids on congregations of the Council of Churches Baptists are frequent. They choose to meet for worship without seeking state registration.
Source: Forum 18 News Service
- Pray these Christians will be emboldened to continue to follow the Lord and encourage one another in the faith. Pray for opportunities to meet.
- Commit to the Lord those who have been fined and the Indian citizen facing deportation.
- Ask the Lord to give wisdom to church leaders when dealing with authorities.
A local church leader and teacher in Kazakhstan was sentenced to two years in prison on 3 October, after being convicted of making a false emergency-services call.
On 14 April 2015, someone using Yuri Pak’s mobile phone made a prank phone call to Kazakhstan’s emergency services.
The evidence used against Yuri Pak is a two-minute recording of a drunken man making a bomb threat and using prison jargon. Expert witnesses testified that the caller’s voice does not match Yuri Pak’s voice.
Additionally, the caller references spending 10 years in prison and being angry at police, but Yuri Pak has never been in prison. The government in this majority Muslim country appears to be using these false charges to persecute him because of his role in the Christian church.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Pray for justice for Yuri Pak; may the full facts of the case be brought to light. Pray the judicial system will treat him without partiality.
- Ask the Lord to strengthen Yuri Pak and his family; pray they will not fall into fear or despair but trust in the Lord’s will.
- Pray the Lord will provide Yuri Pak with opportunities to share the Gospel while in prison; may he have the blessing of witnessing the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.
Six weeks after a judge sentenced Yklas Kabduakasov to seven years’ house arrest for his Christian activities, he was rearrested and sent to a labour camp.
Yklas, a former Muslim, was first arrested in August 2015; he spent 12 weeks in prison before receiving a sentence of seven years under house arrest. The 54-year-old father of eight sought for a full acquittal, stating that he had not insulted Islam nor “incited religious hatred.” But on 28 December 2015, a court changed his sentence to two years’ imprisonment in a labour camp nearly 450km from his home.
The prosecution relied on evidence that was collected by Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee (KNB) secret police, who monitored his activities for over a year. They gathered secret recordings of conversations Yklas has with four university students, with whom he met to study the Bible. Additionally, KNB secret police raided his home and seized religious books.
At trial, prosecution experts testified that the Christian convert was insulting Islam as well as inciting violence against Muslims. Prosecutors also claimed that Yklas had attempted to force his subordinates at work to become Christians.
Since his transfer to the labour camp, Yklas is reportedly thinner. His lawyer told Forum 18 that Yklas remains in good spirits and has no complaints about his treatment. He and his lawyer are preparing a final appeal to Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court.
Sources: The Voice of the Martyrs USA, Forum 18 News Service
• Pray Yklas and his legal representatives may be granted wisdom as they prepare for the appeal and that they would not be apprehensive; may they rely on the Lord to give them the right words. Pray for a favourable outcome.
• Thank the Lord for Yklas’ love and faithfulness to Him; pray the Lord may encourage him even in prison. May Yklas see the Holy Spirit at work in his life and the lives of others in the camp.
• Ask the Lord to minister to the family members and fellow believers of Yklas; may they be spurred on by his testimony and example.
KAZAKHSTAN: Imprisonment for Yklas Kabduakasov
KAZAKHSTAN: Christians Jailed for Refusing to Pay Fines
KAZAKHSTAN: New Laws Threaten Religious Freedom
On 28 December the City Court in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana increased the punishment handed down to Seventh-Day Adventist Yklas Kabduakasov in November to two years’ imprisonment in a labour camp.
The lower court had given the 54-year-old father of eight a seven-year sentence of restricted freedom at home.
He was prosecuted for alleged incitement of religious hatred while talking to others of his faith, charges he and his fellow church members reject. Secret police officers seized Kabduakasov at the end of the hearing and took him away to prison.
The 12 weeks Kabduakasov spent in pre-trial detention will count towards his two-year prison term.
Kabduakasov’s lawyer Gulmira Shaldykova described the two-year prison term to Madi Bekmaganbetov of Radio Free Europe’s Kazakh Service as “too harsh.” She said she would discuss with her client whether to appeal against the verdict to a higher court.
Source: Forum 18 News Service
- Ask the Lord to give Yklas the physical and spiritual strength he will need for this upcoming test of faith.
- Ask the Lord to pour out His abundant blessing on Yklas’ family so they too may know of His provision, comfort and ministering Spirit.
- Pray that the Lord will provide opportunities for Yklas to share the Gospel, even while in prison. Ask the Lord to use these present sufferings for the spiritual growth of the church in Kazakhstan.