By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN (Worthy News)– After his arrest in May, International Christian Concern reported that Pastor Bakhytzhat Kashkumbayev has been severely mistreated by the Kazakhstan government while it continues to hide his whereabouts.
According to Corey Bailey, ICC's Regional Manager for Central Asia, Kashkumbayev likely underwent "Soviet-style psychological examinations" after he was transferred last month from prison in Astana to Almaty's Practical Center of Psychiatry where he remained until he was discharged in September to parts unknown.
Calls to the Kazakhstan embassy about Kashkumbayev have resulted in denials.
"Unfortunately, this behavior is typical of those governments who use Soviet-era security methods," said ICC President Jeff King. "Even the State Department has confirmed that Pastor Kashkumbayev has been arrested and is in custody."
Following allegations that Kashkumbayev had laced a red tea used for communion with hallucinogens that harmed the health of Lyazzat Almenova, he was arrested May 17. But according to Forum 18, Almenova claimed she was used by the state to start a case against her pastor.
The treatment of Kashkumbayev reveals a pattern of how Kazakhstan treats religious dissidents under the state's new religion law; introduced in 2011, the law revoked the legal rights of churches to assemble and arrested and fined congregations for praying together without official state permission.
"The international community should be aware of Kazakhstan's unlawful treatment of Pastor Kashkumbayev and of their religion law, which violates the religious freedom of its citizens," said Bailey. "I am saddened to see the government revert back to the Soviet-style of physical and psychological torture as they continue to hold this elderly pastor in custody."
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