KAZAKHSTAN: Restricted freedom, community service for religious meetings

By Felix Corley | Forum 18

A judge in Aktobe Region punished seven Muslims with restricted freedom sentences of one to three years for holding religious meetings. Four were also given 120 hours’ community service. A court has awarded compensation to atheist writer Aleksandr Kharlamov who was held for six months during a nearly six-year criminal investigation.

On 9 July, a court in the north-western city of Aktobe [Aqtobe] convicted seven more Sunni Muslims on criminal charges of belonging to the banned Muslim missionary movement Tabligh Jamaat. All seven received terms of restricted freedom of between one and three years, where they live at home under restrictions. Four of them were also ordered to conduct 120 hours of community service.

The men were accused of creating a religious group, reading religious literature and spreading the “ideology” of the movement by sharing their faith with other local Muslims.