We are so grateful for your suspended prison sentence, but a $6,500 fine? Please pray that these funds are made available to Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, Kazakhstan.
"On February 17, a retired pastor accused of harming the health of a church member was given a four-year suspended prison sentence. Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev was also ordered to pay his alleged victim 'moral damages' of two million tenge (£6,500). Pastor Bakhytzhan was arrested in May last year and was charged with the psychological manipulation of Lyazzat Almenova, 34, through the use of a 'red-coloured hallucinogenic drink.'"
Text from a Release International email, Prisoner of Faith Alert, March, 2014.
Help free a wrongfully arrested pastor in Kazakhstan!
(originally published 7-10-2013)
Although it rarely if ever makes the headlines in the Western world, Kazakhstan is home to one of the most brutal regimes in Central Asia. Under a government that traces its roots to the Soviet Union, religious minorities face harsh restrictions on their activities and any missionary activity is completely forbidden. Churches must be registered to operate, but the government rarely grants a church registration, leaving the majority of Christians to worship illegally or not at all.
In October things took a turn for the worst when police stormed Grace Church in the capital of Astana. They detained members for questioning and soon hurled wiled accusations at the church pastor, Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, accusing him of putting hallucinogens in the communion juice. The charges were simply an excuse to harass the church until last month when police decided to arrest Pastor Kashkumbayev and lock him away in Astana's "Temporary Isolation Prison" where he will remain for at least the next two months as charges are brought against him.
Kazakhstan has an infamous reputation for treating their prisoners terribly. Conditions are horrible and some prisoners die after sustained beatings by guards. We must do everything we can to ensure Pastor Kashkumbayev is released immediately. The longer he remains imprisoned the greater the chance he will be tortured, beaten, and mistreated. Lend your voice to ours and call on the Kazakh government to release Pastor Kashkumbayev today!
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Follow the instructions below. Please submit your signatures to us by Wednesday, July 31.
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#1 Pray: The first thing you can do to help is stop right now and ask the Lord to intervene on behalf of the Church of Indonesia.
#2 Next, review our petition.
#3 Electronically sign the petition.
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Sincerely in Christ,
International Christian Concern
P.O. Box 8056
Spring, MD 20907
Phone: (800) ICC-5441
Fax: (301) 585-5918