Kazakhstan: Another Strike to Religious Freedom as Court Orders Destruction of Bibles

Religion Today

Kazakhstan: Another Strike to Religious Freedom as Court Orders Destruction of Bibles


Religious freedom is losing even more ground in Kazakhstan: For the first time since the country gained independence in 1991, a court ordered religious literature to be destroyed, Mission Network News reports. According to Forum 18 News, 121 pieces of religious literature, mostly in the Kazakh language, were taken from a Christian in the northern part of the country. Vyacheslav Cherkasov was reportedly handing out the literature on the streets when police arrested him. He was fined a month's wages, and a suitcase full of Bibles, children's Bibles, books and Christian tracts were confiscated. This month, a judge ordered the literature to be destroyed. "Most likely the books would be burnt," an official told Forum 18. Authorities accused Cherkasov of violating Kazakhstan's Religion Law, which was rewritten in 2011 to include more things as "religious offenses." Cherkasov is currently appealing his case. "We know that religious literature has frequently been confiscated since the new Religion Law came into force in 2011," said human rights defender Yevgeni Zhovtis. "But I've never heard that religious literature is being destroyed, unless it is extremist. This is terrible, terrible!"

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