August 7, 2019
Prosecutions for exercising freedom of religion or belief appear to be rising in Kazakhstan.
At least 104 cases were brought between January and June 2019 to punish unapproved worship, sharing faith, selling religious literature and items in shops or online or using “Amen” in mosque worship. In all of 2018, 171 such prosecutions are known to have occurred.
Muslims, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and commercial and private sellers were targets of the prosecutions.
Of the cases 92 ended in convictions with 86 individuals and one company being fined. In three cases courts ordered seized religious literature to be destroyed. Punishments included fines and temporary bans on activity, according to a Forum 18 review of cases. (F18)