Kazakh police frame, fine Baptist leaders comment (0)
June 14, 2012
SEREBRYANSK, Kazakhstan — Kazakhstan continues to punish people exercising their internationally recognized right to freedom of religion or belief without state permission, sources reported. Raids, often without search warrants, have continued on members of the Baptist Council of Churches, who on principle do not seek state registration.
In a particularly serious development, Baptist Vasiliy Stakhnev appears to have been framed by police and then given a large fine for the “offense” of distributing religious literature — which he vehemently insists that he did not do.
Police apparently pressured his neighbors to write false testimonies against him. One neighbor said they were “not even sure what I signed for the police.” Stakhnev insisted he had not distributed any literature, and that he was only “guilty” of possessing Christian literature in his private home.
Local police Chief Serikhan Tozhigitov of Serebryansk Police said, “We did not force anyone to sign anything.”