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Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev
Photo: World Watch Monitor

On February 17th, a retired pastor accused of harming the health of a church member was handed a four-year suspended prison sentence. Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev was also ordered to pay his alleged victim "moral damages" of two million tenge (approximately $12,000 CAD).

The case against Pastor Bakhytzhan dragged on for months after his arrest in May of 2013, when he was charged with the psychological manipulation of Lyazzat Almenova, 34, through the use of a "red-coloured hallucinogenic drink." In reality, the drink was a harmless, non-alcoholic beverage used as part of the church's Holy Communion to represent red wine. Although she insists her pastor is "totally innocent," Pastor Bakhytzhan was arrested after Lyazzat's mother claimed that her daughter's mental health had been damaged due to attending the church. (For more information on his arrest, please visit this page.)

"In my experience as a lawyer, this is one of the strangest cases I have seen in terms of legality," said the pastor's lawyer after the verdict was handed down. "It was not just strange but, from the standpoint of the law, all types of violations occurred when the case was opened, when it was being investigated, and during the trial." Pastor Bakhytzhan will reportedly appeal the verdict.

As Pastor Bakhytzhan and his lawyers work towards appealing this latest verdict, pray that God will grant them wisdom and endurance. May the charges against him soon be dropped! Ask God to strengthen this pastor's faith, encouraging him to stand strong as he weathers this storm. Pray, too, for Lyazzat and her family. May her understanding and acceptance of the Gospel increase each day, and may her family members come to a saving faith in our Saviour. Finally, bring the country of Kazakhstan to God in prayer, asking that He will enable His church to grow in faithfulness and in number.

For more information on the challenges Christians face in Kazakhstan, go to the Kazakhstan Country Report.

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Country Information

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)

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


Kazakhstan Videos