Baptist pastor faces one year in jail in Kazakhstan comment (0)
November 7, 2013
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Because Pavel Leonov refused to pay a fine for leading a religious community without state permission in East Kazakhstan, the Baptist pastor was jailed for 24 hours, Forum 18 News Service reported.
At press time, he still refused to pay the fine, equivalent to two months’ average salary, according to police.
On Oct. 28, a criminal case was opened against him. Leonov now faces a possible maximum punishment of one year’s imprisonment.
Leonov is one of more than 100 people known to have been fined so far in 2013 for — among other “offenses” — leading or participating in religious meetings without state permission; sharing their faith with others without being personally registered as “missionaries;” or distributing religious literature away from state-licensed venues.
A Prosecutor’s Office official told Forum 18 that: “It’s not the Soviet system. This is the Kazakh system.”