UPDATE April 13, 2014
In February, Pastor Kashkumbayev received a suspended sentence of four years in prison and three months probation. He was released from prison, but has received a notice that the prosecutors have filed an appeal asking for a longer sentence. The Court of Appeal will hear the case later this week.
UPDATE February 27, 2014
Pastor Bakhystzhan was released from prison on February 17, 2014. He was sentenced to 4 years of probation. He has been the pastor of his church since 1995. His bold preaching on spiritual freedom has caused anger. He spoke with Open Doors by phone shortly after his release, telling them he was on his way to visit his grandchildren!
Source: Open Doors
UPDATE February 5, 2014
Pastor Bakhytzhan has been awaiting his trial in prison for months. On January 29 he finally returned to court. Surprisingly, two of the charges against him were dropped–“extremism” and “development of the illegal religious association”. He continues to face the 2 remaining charges: “Intentional damage of the health”, and inciting sectarian strife.” In another surprising move, the pastor and his lawyer refused to participate in the court proceedings. The pastor was removed from the courtroom by armed guards, and a screaming match broke out between the judge, the pastor’s lawyer, and members of his church, who were in the courtroom. Then the lawyer left the courtroom. It is believed that a new lawyer, a public defender, will be assigned to represent Pastor Bakhytzhan.
Please pray for Pastor Bakhytzhan’s health, that the court process will produce a fair and correct verdict, and that the pastor, his family, and his church will be shining lights in this difficult situation.
Source: Open Doors
UPDATE February 1, 2014
Pastor Bakhytzhan was released from prison on October 8, 2013, to await his trial under house arrest, however police officers were waiting for him at the prison entrance, and arrested him as he left the prison. His family hadn’t seen him in 5 months, and his trial, due to take place in November, hasn’t happened yet.
The mother of a member of his congregation accused him of harming her daughter with the communion juice, but her daughter claims she was wrongly diagnosed with schizophrenia during a forced psychiatric exam. She has strongly defended the pastor against the allegations.
What you can do:
- Pray for Pastor Bakhytzhan and his family and congregation.
- Write him a letter of encouragement. (When writing, don’t mention any organizations from which you received this information. Be respectful of the country, and stick to words of support and comfort. Write a personal letter.)
SI-12 (ETs 166/1)
Alash Tas Zhol street 30/1
Source: Voice of the Martyrs
Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, 67 years old, has been charged with “harming health”, after praying over the sick and serving “hallucinogens” to his congregation (it was just red tea used for communion). He has been placed in a psychiatric facility, and the authorities are attempting to have him declared insane.
Kazakhstan has been increasing its hold over religious activities. A new law, proposed in March 2013, would allow authorities to imprison people who share their faith for up to 4 months. If the law passes, it will be the first law in that country that establishes religious activities as a criminal offense. The constitution of Kazakhstan guarantees its citizens the right to freely choose and practice their religion. Some people have commented that this arrest is similar to what occurred under the communist rule of the country.
What you can do:
- Pray for Pastor Bakhytzhan and his family and church.
- Pray for the Kazakhstan parliament and all the country’s leaders.
- Contact the Kazakhstan embassy.
Father in heaven, we lift up Pastor Bakhytzhan to you today. How he must feel having been placed in a psych ward is beyond my ability to comprehend. Pour out Your mercy and grace upon him. Give him sweet rest, abiding peace, and joy greater than he has known before. Bring him into Your presence, and fill him with Yourself. Strip away all but You within him, and conform him to the image of Jesus himself. Let him be the shining light house to all those around him, who need You so much! We lift up his family, his friends, and his church to you, Lord, and ask you to protect them and guide them in his absence. We pray for the leaders in Kazakhstan. It’s an enormous responsibility to run a government. We pray that the members of parliament will always put the welfare, and human rights, of their citizens above their own desires and agendas. Let freedom reign in Kazakhstan, Father. Pour out the spirit of harmony throughout this country, and create a climate where the people of all religions can practice their faith in tolerance and acceptance. Above all else, let Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Thank You for your unending mercy and grace toward us all.
Source: Mission Network News