Kazakhstan: Pastors Charged with Praying

Monday, July 11, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

kazakhstan christian newsASTANA, KAZAKSTAN (Worthy News)-- Pastor Yerzhan Ushanov of New Life Protestant Church in Taraz is looking at two years' imprisonment if criminal charges for injuring an individual's health ever come to court, Christian rights investigators said.

Ushanov is facing prosecution under Criminal Code Article 111  -- "causing severe damage to health due to negligence" -- for allegedly hurting the health of Aleksandr Kereyev by praying for him, New Life members told Forum 18. Article 111 carries a very large fine, or community service of up to 200 hours, or up to two years' imprisonment.

Captain Jumashev of the the National Security Committee warned Ushanov to "change his profession and leave Taraz for good, if he does not want to get into trouble."

The charge against Ushanov was brought by the KNB secret police; this is the second time they brought similar charges against a Protestant pastor in Jambyl Region.

Vissa Kim, Pastor of Grace Light of Love Protestant Church, was punished under Criminal Code Article 111 for praying for a woman's health; Kim was fined $961 US as well as court costs. Although the Supreme Court later overturned his conviction and cancelled the fine, Kim was not compensated for his expenses.