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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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JUNE 28, 2017
KAZAKHSTAN

Kazakhstan Court Upholds Unjust Conviction of Teymur Akhmedov

On June 20, 2017, the Astana City Court dismissed Teymur Akhmedov’s appeal of his criminal conviction, affirming a five-year prison term and an additional three-year ban on his religious activity. An international human rights lawyer who was present in the courtroom on June 20 stated: “It is a travesty of justice because evidence in support of Mr. Akhmedov was overwhelming.” His lawyers are considering further appeals.

In January 2017, National Security Committee officers arrested and detained Mr. Akhmedov for alleged illegal religious activity. He remained in detention until his trial on May 2, 2017, when the Saryarkinskiy District Court unjustly convicted him on the basis of Article 174 (2) of Kazakhstan’s Criminal Code, which punishes incitement of religious hatred. Mr. Akhmedov strongly objected to the false charge, arguing that he was merely expressing his religious beliefs and his love for his neighbors. Manifestation of religious belief is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Kazakhstan Constitution and by international human rights instruments that Kazakhstan has obligated itself to observe.