Grace church pastor under home arrest

10 октября 2013, 14:04
Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev. ©
Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev. ©
Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, pastor of Grace protestant church in Astana, has been released from jail and transferred under home arrest, Tengrinews reports citing Almaty regional court.

“Last time the prosecutors requested to prolong the arrest for another six months until November 17 the judge did not agree and automatically changed the restraint measures from the arrest in a detention facility to home arrest,” the court said .

The pastor is banned from communicating with anyone except close relatives who live with him. He is also banned from written and verbal correspondence. He is allowed to leave the house only to visit a hospital.

Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev was under arrest since May 2013. In the end of July he underwent a psychiatric check in Almaty .

The criminal case against the 67-y.o. pastor was initiated in October 2012 after severe damage was allegedly caused to mental health of Lyazzat Almenova, one of the members of the congregation of Grace mission.

After one of the church gatherings the 34-y.o. member of the church from Astana was taken to a psychiatric hospital and was diagnosed with “paranoid schizophrenia with high suicidal risk”.

Astana police raided the church and found that the pastor of Grace church offered a red-colored drink causing hallucinations during his services. The Medicines Research Center defined that the drink contained a phenolic substance and hallucinogens causing euphoria and relaxation.

Relatives of Lyazzat Almenova were the ones who applied to police over the incident, while the church member herself denies that any damage was caused to her health.

Earlier All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists (AUC ECB) supported the pastor. The Union sent a letter to Kazakhstan Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Ukraine Zautbek Turisbekov requesting to release Kashkumbayev.

By Aizhan Tugelbayeva

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