FEBRUARY 9, 2017
On January 30, 2017, the Astana City Court rejected appeals to release Teymur Akhmedov and Asaf Guliyev from pretrial detention. They were arrested on January 18 for talking to a group of men who feigned interest in the religious beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The two Witnesses were charged with “inciting religious discord” and “advocating [religious] superiority.” The court did not cite any evidence to prove that it was necessary to detain the Witnesses.
The decision is now in force and is not subject to further appeals. Teymur and Asaf must remain in pretrial detention until their criminal investigation is completed. If they are indicted and found guilty at trial, they could face a five-to-ten-year prison term.