» 05/26/2012, 00.00
Kazakh authorities convict Baptist man on false charges
Vasily Stakhnev has to pay a hefty fine for illegal distribution of religious material. He said he would appeal his conviction. The authorities have targeted Baptists because they refuse to register. In a few months, the country's religion law has led to the banning of almost 600 churches and religious groups.
(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Kazakh authorities charged Protestant man and convicted him
for illegally handing out religious material. Vasily Stakhnev, a Baptist, broke
Kazakhstan's religion law. Adopted on 21 October 2011, the law is the work of President
Nursultan Nazarbayev. In a few months, it has proven highly controversial and
has led to the banning
of almost 600 churches and religious groups.
religious activity is illegal in Kazakhstan, as is religious literature that
has not passed state censorship.
such a law in place, the authorities have raided religious groups, including
Jehovah's Witness and Hare Krishna.
are an especially easy target because they refuse on principle to register with
local sources, Forum 18 reported that
in February security agents raided the flats of Vasily Stakhnev and two other
Baptists in Serebryansk, eastern Kazakhstan, a Christian booklets from all
Stakhev's case, police pressured neighbours to sign statements that he had
"stuck religious literature in the door handles or under the doors of their
he acknowledges possessing Christian literature, Stakhev maintains that he is
innocent and that never handed out material to others.
his claims, a judge convicted him on 27 April for "carrying out of missionary
activity by citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, foreigners and persons
without citizenship without registration".
Stakhev, who has launched an appeal against his sentence, has to pay a fine in
excess of a thousand dollar, far more than what he earns.
Changes to law on religious freedom planned
The authorities have said the amendments will not make things worse but many Protestant groups fear further restrictions on their activities. Small communities are often hassled, fined or forced to wait for a long time to get compulsory registration.
Kazakh government to ban 579 Churches and religious communities
Any group with less than 50 members is excluded under the new Religion Law of 21 October. Existing groups have until 25 October 2012 to meet the law's requirements. In the meantime, public meetings are banned.
Protestants fear restrictions with the new Kazakh law on religious freedom
The changes expected within a few months. The Constitutional Court has declared the previous Act illegal. The country says it wants to combat Islamic terrorism, but punishes any unauthorized activity and pursues the small Christian groups.
Kazakhstan, "religious freedom does not exist"
Cases of persecution against minority religious are growing. Members of religious communities and human rights defenders in the country report that there is no freedom of faith.
Astana, inter-faith declaration: "Eliminate prejudice to stop terrorism"
At the close of the second inter-faith congress, religious leaders pledged to promote shared values in their communities, rather than those that divide different faiths.
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
24/05/2017 CHINA- VATICAN
19/05/2017 BANGLADESH - SAUDI ARABIA
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.