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Two Christians, Viktor Leven and his brother, Didrikh, are facing prosecution for taking part in religious worship without state registration in Akmola Region, Kazakhstan, according to a November 5 report from Forum18. On October 14, Viktor, who was born in Kazakhstan but has German citizenship, was found guilty of "carrying out missionary activity without local registration" (Article 375-3 of the Administrative Code), an offense which prescribes a fine and/or deportation to foreigners or people without citizenship. He was fined a total of 6,480 Tenge (approximately $45 CAD) and ordered to be deported. He has since had his fine and deportation annulled on appeal -- a decision which local Christians see as a result of the court recognizing "that he was not a missionary and had not been sent to Kazakhstan for this...he lives here." On October 28, Didrikh was found guilty of violating Article 374-1 which forbids "leadership or participation in the activity of an unregistered social or religious organization." He was fined 129,600 Tenge (approximately $900 CAD), which is 100 times the minimum monthly wage. He reportedly plans to lodge an appeal to the same Akmola Regional Court which overturned Viktor's punishment.

Also in Kazakhstan, Feruza Utegenova, a member of New Life Church in Aktau on the Caspian Sea, was deported to Uzbekistan on November 5. She had been convicted and fined in June for "carrying out missionary activity without local registration" (Article 375-3) after she distributed a Christian children's magazine to a 12-year-old girl living near her home.

Pray that the charges against Didrikh will be dropped. Pray for strength and guidance for Feruza as she seeks to serve Christ amid her trials. Pray that authorities will cease their harassment of Christians in Kazakhstan.

For more information on the persecution facing Kazakhstan's Christians, click here.

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Country Information

Population
19,245,793 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Kazakh (Qazaq) (68), Russian (19.3), Uzbek (3.2), Ukrainian (1.5), Uighur (1.5), Tatar (1.1), German (1), Other (4.4)

Religion (%)
Muslim (70.2), Christian (26.2), Buddhist (0.1), Other (0.2), Atheist (2.8), Unspecified (0.5)

Leader
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (2019)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system the theory and practice of the Russian Federation
Civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and b

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Kazakhstan

Pray that authorities will cease their harassment of unregistered church communities. Until then, pray believers will effectively minister the gospel despite opposition.

Pray for endurance for those believers facing these challenges.

Pray for the adage “To be a Kazakh is to be a Muslim” to be broken; pray for freedom from historic spiritual bondages and prejudices.

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Kazakhstan News

  • Parliament Debates New Religious Restrictions
    Kazakhstan Senate - Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ
    Kazakhstan Senate
    Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ (cc)

    On October 6th, amendments to Kazakhstan's religious laws were approved by the Parliament and then passed on to the Senate. The legislation added new restrictions to religious events conducted outside a building of worship owned by a registered re

    ...
  • Religious Worshippers Monitored and Fined
    Oral, Kazakhstan - Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev
    Oral, Kazakhstan
    Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev (cc)

    Since the beginning of 2021, at least 20 cases have gone to court in Kazakhstan for holding religious meetings without state permission. The fines brought against them varied from three weeks' to four months' average wages. Amendments are also pres

    ...
  • Appeal Fails to Halt Seizures
    New Life Curch - Photo: Ivan Kryukov
    New Life Church property in Almaty
    Photo: Ivan Kryukov (cc)

    On September 17th, a court in the city of Almaty upheld an earlier decision to seize two buildings owned by the New Life Protestant Church. The facilities were being used for worship, as well as a means of support for those suffering from

    ...
  • Church Buildings Confiscated
    Grace Church member praying - Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18 www.forum18.org
    Church member prays outside Grace Church.
    Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18

    City officials in Kazakhstan's capital of Nur-Sultan have ordered the confiscation of the Grace Presbyterian Church building, as well as the place of worship being constructed on the same site for the Agape Pentecostal Church

    ...

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