"After nine months of questionable imprisonment and delayed trials, a 67-year-old pastor has been released from jail in Kazakhstan. The Voice of the Martyrs shares updates on the situation.
"Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev, 67, the retired Presbyterian pastor of Grace Church in Atsana, Kazakhstan, was released on Feb. 17 after spending nine months in jail awaiting trial on a charge of “intentionally inflicting serious harm to health.” He was convicted of the charge and received a four-year suspended sentence.
"Although four other charges were dropped, Kashkumbaev is ordered to pay a large fine and could face new charges. His lawyers plan to appeal the conviction, as well as the fine equivalent to $10,800 on the grounds that the proceedings were illegal and unfounded.
"The pastor and church were first accused in July 2011 by the family of a woman who attended Grace Church. The woman’s family forced her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, which determined that she was mentally ill. The woman has repeatedly rejected this claim and defended Pastor Kashkumbaev."
Kazakhstan Pastor Update, by Julie Oosterhouse, at Mission Network News