has been released, BosNewsLife learned Saturday November 17. The Keston News Service (KNS),  which investigates religious persecution, quoted the US-based Russian Evangelistic Ministries as saying that Asylbek Nurdanov from the town of Kazalinsk was freed.

His release came after a Baptist delegation, including Pastor Peter Peters from Russia, visited him in the town of Kyzyl-Orda where he had been held for nearly a week. He had been taken there forcibly on 10 November by police, who allegedly put pressure on his parents to write a statement complaining of his activities, KNS  said.

His case has raised fears that nearly ten years after the collapse of Communism,  Christians in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan can still face forced psychiatric treatment.

Nurdanov’s congregation is part of the Council of Churches of Evangelical Christians/Baptists,  which has a policy of not seeking or accepting registration in the Moslem, west-central Asian nation of nearly 17 million people,  and all former Soviet republics.

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.

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 republics.

KNS said that across the border in Turkmenistan, a mainly Moslem nation,  41 Protestants who were detained when police raided a service of their Word of Life Church November 15, in the capital Ashgabad,  have been released.  But they were forced to pay fines totalling more than forty million Manats,  about 7,700 US Dollars.

Human rights organizations have expressed concern that building a coalition in the war against terrorism may become more important for the U.S. and other Western countries than improving the conditions of those suffering for their faith or political beliefs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here