In two separate trials – in Oskemen (Ust- Kamenogorsk) and Aktobe – ten more Sunni Muslims were given criminal convictions in early October for alleged membership of the Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary movement. Eight of the ten were sentenced to imprisonment. One of the defendants in Oskemen, Baurzhan Beisembai, was sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment. The other two defendants received restricted freedom sentences. Many also face were handed bans on the exercise of freedom of religion or belief after their release.
These convictions bring to 41 the number of Sunni Muslims known to Forum 18 to have been sentenced in Kazakhstan on charges of involvement in Tabligh Jamaat since December 2014. Of these, 27 received prison terms, while the remaining 14 received restricted freedom sentences. All the cases were launched by the National Security Committee (KNB) secret police (see full list below).
Also imprisoned is Seventh-day Adventist prisoner of conscience Yklas Kabduakasov. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in December 2015 to punish him for sharing his faith with others in a case also launched by the KNB secret police.