The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Kazakhstan Police Operation to Close Down Entire Denomination?

By: for Forum 18 News Service on Feb. 5, 2008
World News


Since the persecution of Hare Krishna devotees, members of ISKCON have been watching the Kazakhstan situation very carefully. There have been no recent direct moves against our community there, yet reports like this one demonstrate that the Kazakhstan government is still willing to attack the freedoms of its country's minority religions.



 



The KNB secret police subjected the Grace Presbyterian Church in Almaty to a 17-hour raid on 25 and 26 January.



"They checked everybody and everything and confiscated all the computer hardware," Dmitri Kan of the church's headquarters in Karaganda told Forum 18 News Service.



The raid is part of the campaign begun with a 15-hour raid in Karaganda last August.



The Financial Police, Justice Department, and KNB have stepped up investigating and questioning Grace Church members across Kazakhstan since mid-January, he added.



Leaks through the media allege that church members are engaged in spying, appropriating church members' property, failing to file financial information, inciting inter-religious enmity and holding illegal drugs, even though no-one has ever been brought before a criminal court.



"All these efforts are done to close down the entire Grace Church in Kazakhstan," Kan told Forum 18. The Karaganda Regional Department of the KNB told Forum 18 that the operation against the Church is being led by the central KNB in the capital Astana.



Vyacheslav Kalyuzhny, the Deputy Human Rights Ombudsperson, says the Church has not complained to his office. "People are not persecuted on religious grounds in Kazakhstan," he claimed.




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