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Yuri Pak Photo: VOM USA
Yuri Pak
Photo: VOM USA

Yuri Pak was released from prison on June 17th. Yuri, a teacher, dean of a high school and local church leader was sentenced to two years in prison, after being convicted of making a false emergency services call. The accusations began in April 2015, when someone used Yuri's mobile phone to make a prank phone call to Kazakhstan's emergency services. (A previous report may be reviewed here.)

Authorities were quick to charge Yuri with making a bomb threat during that call and arrested him. Yet, during trial, the "evidence" against him was a two-minute-long recording of a man who was obviously drunk and using rough prison jargon. Expert witnesses testified that the caller's voice did not match Yuri's. Additionally, the caller makes reference to having spent ten years in prison and being angry at police. Yuri had not been in prison.

As a testimony to his character, Yuri's students came to his trial to support him. His pastor also wrote a letter of support and various local news stations reported on the spurious trial. Yet, even with all that support, he was sentenced to two years in prison, apparently in retaliation against his involvement in a Christian church.

While Yuri was in prison, many people wrote letters of support to him through VOM's website: www.prisoneralert.com. Yuri's wife Olga, responded by expressing her gratitude: "Our family is extremely grateful to each one of you for your prayers...words of encouragement and faith. (They) helped us to go through this difficult trial without losing our faith and courage. We believe that your labour is not in vain before the Lord."

Current Ministry Project

VOMC has come alongside project partners to offer an English camp as an opportunity for evangelism and outreach among youth and young adults. Camp participants are invited to embrace the Good News of the Gospel through the platform of the English Camps.

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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.

end

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