Monday, October 10, 2016

Kazakhstan: Ten more members of Pakistan-based Tablighi Jama'at sentenced


One of the defendants in Oskemen, Baurzhan Beisembai, was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Forum 18 News
By Felix Corley | October 10, 2016

In two separate trials – in Oskemen (Ust- Kamenogorsk) and Aktobe - ten more Sunni Muslims were given criminal convictions in early October for alleged membership of the Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary movement. Eight of the ten were sentenced to imprisonment.

One of the defendants in Oskemen, Baurzhan Beisembai, was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment. The other two defendants received restricted freedom sentences. Many also face were handed bans on the exercise of freedom of religion or belief after their release.

These convictions bring to 41 the number of Sunni Muslims known to Forum 18 to have been sentenced in Kazakhstan on charges of involvement in Tabligh Jamaat since December 2014. Of these, 27 received prison terms, while the remaining 14 received restricted freedom sentences. All the cases were launched by the National Security Committee (KNB) secret police.

Tablighi Jama'at banned

A court in the capital Astana banned Tabligh Jamaat in Kazakhstan as "extremist" in February 2013. Until the movement was banned, it used to send members on short-term missions to other towns and villages where they slept in mosques and addressed local Muslims, both door to door and in the mosque, a close observer of the movement in Central Asia told Forum 18. Male adherents are often identified by their beards and wearing of South Asian clothing. If Muslims are thought by the authorities to agree with some of Tabligh Jamaat's teachings or practices, possess religious books often used in the movement, or meet others close to the movement, this can be enough to trigger a criminal prosecution.

In early August 2016, a court in Almaty Region banned as "extremist" three Muslim books by members of the Kandhlawi family, which has played a leading role in the Tabligh Jamaat movement.


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