By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN (Worthy News)– International Christian Concern reports that a 67-year-old pastor was charged with religious extremism and imprisoned just hours after he had been released to house arrest for supposedly harming the health of his parishioners.
After almost five months of imprisonment for allegedly adding hallucinogens to a red tea used during communion, a court in Astana, Kazakhstan had extended Pastor Bakhytzhat Kashkumbayev's pre-trial imprisonment until Nov. 17, according to Forum 18 News. However, just as Kashkumbayev left jail, he was re-arrested for terrorism under article 233 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Investigator Vyacheslav Glazkov said that Kashkumbayev will remain in prison for three more days and after that they will decide if they will "keep him in prison for more time, or let him go."
Kashkumbayev, who is in poor health, has never received adequate medical care while being wrongfully imprisoned. In August, he wrote a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Committee stating: "Though I am 67, and I cannot boast of ideal health since I had a serious heart attack in 2011, with chronic otitis of both ears, varicose veins in my legs, chronic bronchitis, chronic gastritis … I am psychologically healthy (but) it will not take much for the authorities to make me a vegetable … I am begging you to protect me."
"The treatment of Pastor Kashkumbayev is appalling," said Corey Bailey, ICC's Regional Manager for Central Asia. "His rights to religious freedom have been violated time and time again. It is clear that he is merely a scapegoat for the government, who has wrongfully imprisoned him and continues to harm his health. We ask the International community to let Kazakhstan know that we are watching them and that we are horrified at their treatment of Pastor Kashkumbayev …"
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