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International Christian Concern 2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, #941 Washington, DC 20006 301-585-5915 ♦ icc@persecution.org

PETITION CALLING FOR THE IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF PASTOR BAKHYTZHAN KASHKUMBAYEV Ambassador Kairat Umarov Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan 1401 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 July 8, 2013 Dear Ambassador Umarov, It is with great concern that we petition your government for the immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev. Pastor Kashkumbayev was arbitrarily detained for practicing his faith, seeing to the peaceful operation of his church, and disseminating red tea to members of his church for the observance of a holy Christian sacrament. Following the release of a psychological evaluation that declared an attendee of Pastor Kashkumbayev’s Grace Presbyterian Church in Astana a paranoid schizophrenic, local police raided Pastor Kashkumbayev’s church to detain and question members as well as rifle through church property to confiscate both Christian literature and church monies. Immediately after the raid, police accused Pastor Kashkumbayev of disseminating “hallucinogens to drink" in an attempt to intentionally inflict psychological "harm" upon church members. Those alleged "hallucinogens" have since been identified as local red teas, used as a non-alcoholic substitutes for wine in the observance of the holy Christian sacrament—communion. In October of last year, Astana police launched an investigation of Pastor Kashkumbayev for “causing considerable harm to the psychological health” of church members. That investigation led to Pastor Kashkumbayev being charged with “intentional infliction of serious harm to health” for allegedly drugging church members with “psychotropic substances.” On May 17th, Pastor Kashkumbayev was arrested and wrongfully sentenced to two months pre-trial detention in Astana’s Temporary Isolation Prison. Ambassador Umarov, the signers of this petition urge you to take steps to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Kashkumbayev. His case not only represents a severe breach of protocol by Kazak authorities to punish free expressions of faith, but is exemplary of governmental corruption, at the local level, that has proven detrimental to the free exercise of religion within Kazakhstan. No citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan should be made to live in fear of government reprisal, including arbitrary detention, for the practicing of their faith nor should any such citizen be denied rights extended them by international law, to which the Republic is party. The immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Kashkumbayev will act to demonstrate Kazakhstan’s on-going commitment to the protection of human rights, including the right to freedom of religion, to both the Republic’s citizens and the various members of the International Community. Sincerely, International Christian Concern (and attached) CC: Secretary of State John Kerry Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Senator Bob Corker, Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Congresswoman Elliot Engel, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs


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PETITION%20CALLING%20FOR%20THE%20IMMEDIATE%20AND%20UNCONDITIONAL%20RELEASE%20OF%20PASTOR%20BAKHYTZHA  

http://www.persecution.org/pdf/PETITION%20CALLING%20FOR%20THE%20IMMEDIATE%20AND%20UNCONDITIONAL%20RELEASE%20OF%20PASTOR%20BAKHYTZHAN%20KASHK...

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