Kazakhstan can still face forced treatment in a psychiatric hospital, BosNewsLife learned Wednesday November 14. The Keston News Service (KNS),  which investigates religious persecution, said the "completely healthy" Baptist leader, Asylbek Nurdanov, was taken to a psychiatric hospital Saturday, November 10,  by police forces who earlier mistreated.

Nurdanov, who lives and works in the town of Kazalinsk in Kyzyl-Orda region close to the Aral Sea in southern Kazakhstan,  was reportedly beaten and threatened by local police at the end of October for his work with his church.


"He was has now been placed in a psychiatric hospital in Kyzyl-Orda after police allegedly pressured Nurdanov’s parents to write a statement complaining of his activities," KNS said, quoting Pastor Valery Pak,  who is based in the same town.

As the Baptist leader was brought to the hospital police were heard shouting and threatened him to try to make him abandon his faith in Christ, in this mainly Muslim nation,  Pak told KNS.

Pastor Pak said that he and some colleagues visited the Baptist in hospital on November 13 and were told by the department head that Nurdanov is "a completely healthy person." 

He said their investigation had shown that the Bapist leader’s parents were forced to write a statement in which they accuse him of trying to make children and family members "break with Islam and adopt Christianity."


Reporters have not yet been able to verify the placement of Nurdanov in Kyzyl- Orda psychiatric hospital independently. But KNS notes that statements distributed through the Council of Churches of Evangelical Christians/Baptists,  to which Nurdanov’s congregation belongs,  "have a long track-record of reliability."

The organization has a policy of not seeking or accepting registration in the west-central Asian nation of nearly 17 million people,  and all the former Soviet republics where it is active.

Like many Baptist congregations it is facing increasing pressure for refusing to register and some church leaders have reportedly already been fined while others are facing administrative or even criminal cases.

Police in Kazalinsk last week admitted to KNS that Nurdanov had been questioned in late October, but denied that he had been beaten, accusing him of lying.


Although Kazakhstan’s first elected President,  Nursultan Nazarbayev,  introduced reforms and a multiparty system full religious freedom has not yet been achieved in the worlds’ ninth largest country,  and other former Soviet republics.

There was no international reaction or condemnation yet, at a time when the United States is trying to increase support among Muslim nations for its global war against terrorism. 

Human rights organizations have expressed concern that the U.S. and other Western countries may abandon their efforts to improve conditions for those suffering for their faith of political believes.


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