KAZAKHSTAN: Six more arrests for sharing faith

By Felix Corley, Forum 18

Six more Sunni Muslims were arrested in a “special operation” in the central city of Karaganda [Qaraghandy] on 30 October. All six are being investigated on criminal charges of participation in the activities of the Muslim missionary movement Tabligh Jamaat, which was banned in Kazakhstan in 2013.

A court ordered that three of the accused be held in Investigation Prison. The other three had to sign statements that they would not leave the city. Police, National Security Committee (KNB) secret police, court and prison officials refused to identify the individuals or discuss the cases with Forum 18 (see below).

Meanwhile, police investigators have dropped criminal cases against Jehovah’s Witness young men for refusing military service on grounds of conscience. Investigators finally recognised the certificates issued by the Jehovah’s Witness Administrative Centre in Almaty that the men were religious ministers and thus exempt from conscription (see below).