JULY 4, 2017
On June 29, 2017, a Kazakhstan court ordered the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to suspend operations for three months and fined them approximately 680,000 KZT ($2,107).
Leading up to the court decision, authorities conducted a raid of the branch property on May 17, 2017, which created a public spectacle and involved an intimidating force of some 40 armed officers, some of whom were masked. The Witnesses plan to file a complaint against the raid.
On June 5, 2017, police inspected the branch property and authorities claim the inspection revealed violations of certain protocols. The Witnesses disputed the findings of the inspection, which was conducted in a way that violated legal procedures.
The developments in Kazakhstan are reminiscent of the police intimidation and religious intolerance that Jehovah’s Witnesses are facing in Russia, where the government has effectively banned the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Witnesses will be appealing the June 29 decision, which must be filed by July 14, 2017.
International: David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, +1-845-524-3000
Kazakhstan: Bekzat Smagulov, +7-747-671-45-01