Kazakhstan: 2 Believers sent to prison for distributing Christian books

October 28, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Kazakhstan Christian PersecutionKazakhstan, October 24, 2014: Two Christian men in Kazakhstan have been given ten-day prison terms for distributing Christian literature after the authorities claimed the contents of one of the books incite religious hatred.

Vyacheslav Cherkasov and Zhasulan Alzhanov were sentenced on 6 October, five months after the authorities confiscated Christian books that the two men were handing out near a market in Shchuchinsk, in the Akmola region.

The book Jesus: More than a Prophet, which was among 252 Christian books seized by the authorities on 10 May, was found by officials who conducted “expert analysis” to contain “elements inciting religious hatred and discord”, according toForum 18. It is a collection of testimonies written by Muslims who became Christians.

Vyacheslav and Zhasulan were also fined the equivalent of four months’ average wage inKazakhstan for repeatedly distributing religious literature without the required state permission.

This is the sixth time Vyacheslav has faced trial, and the fourth for Zhasulan. Both were sentenced to ten-day prison terms in a separate case earlier this year, for failing to pay earlier fines for exercising their right to freedom of religion.

A growing number of religious publications, including Christian materials and web pages, are being banned as “extremist” in court in Kazakhstan.

A Christian source in Kazakhstan spoke of the increasingly repressive situation for Christians in the region, saying:

The situation in every Central Asian republic is different, but we see that persecution is increasing. The Kazakh authorities put tougher pressure on… churches. All countries have passed new regulations in administrative and criminal laws that toughen punishments for illegal religious activity.

At the same time the authorities don’t protect… churches from zealous local Muslims or just criminals. [Violence] happens not very often but we don’t have any protection from the authorities.

– barnabas team

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