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Mosques and chapels will not be closed in Kazakhstan prisons

24 october 2011, 19:26
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©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti
Mosques and chapels will not be closed in Kazakhstan prisons. Head of press-service of Correctional System Commission of Kazakhstan Interior Ministry told Tengrinews.kz on the changes that will take place when the Religion Law comes into effect.

This announcement was made after a recent statement of Deputy Chairman of Kazakhstan Agency on Religion Marat Azilzhanov saying that prayer rooms in coorectional facilities have to be closed starting from October 25 in line with the new law.

“I would like to stress out that constitutional rights of the convicts in places of detention will not be violated. The issue is not about closing religious facilities, such as mosques and churches in prisons. I am stressing that it's not an issue of closing these religious facilities,” Galymzhan Khassenov said.

In his opinion, the issue is to “regulate their operations”. Starting from last year creation of ceremonial facilities has banned from correctional facilities.

“As for the law, reading it carefully, we can see the following: clause 3 of article 4 chapter 3 states that worshiping and religious ceremonies in states and law-enforcement authorities, which includes Kazakhstan's penitentiary system, are forbidden. But I can also cite the exceptions from this article: Persons in special facilities providing temporary isolation or convicts in correctional facilities may have clergymen and representatives of religious facilities invited to the correctional facility upon their request or request of their families in case of a ceremonial necessity (wedding, Friday prayer and different religious holidays like Kurban-ait, Easter, etc.),” head of press-service of Correctional System Commission of Kazakhstan Interior Ministry said.

According to Khassenov, all religious clerks visiting correctional facilities have to be registered as per the Kazakhstan's legislation.

“I would also stress that clause 4 provides that religious ceremonies should not hinder activities of the facility or violate rights or the law or interests of other people,” head of press-service said.

Earlier deputy chairman of Kazakhstan Agency on Religion Marat Azilzhanov said that mosques, chapels and prayer rooms will start closing in Kazakhstan prison camps on October 25.

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