A former Uzbek house church pastor is in a Kazakhstan jail, awaiting a ruling whether he will be returned to his native country, even as Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court considers whether to declare him a refugee from almost-certain persecution.
Makset Djabbarbergenov was arrested Sept.
It’s not the first time Djabbarbergenov, 32 and the father of four – soon to be five – has been detained by authorities who have frowned on his leadership of unregistered Christian communities. But he told a friend he has been shaken by this arrest.
Speaking from his jail cell, Djabbarbergenov told the friend he was too disturbed to eat during the first few days of his incarceration. To shield his identity, Open Doors News is not reporting the name of Djabbarbergenov’s friend. At first, Djabbarbergenov told his friend, he told God he did not want this cross. Now, he said, “I pray that if this is from you, Lord, I will accept whatever you say. Just help me carry it.”
He has carried a cross for more than a decade. Born in
Djabbarbergenov was hauled into court six times. Police raided the family’s apartment in August 2007, prompting Djabbarbergenov and his wife, Aigul, then pregnant with their third child, to flee to
Their time since has been spent seeking asylum in
Even as Djabbarbergenov’s refugee status hangs in the balance, prosecutors have moved ahead in response to
In a detailed account of the lengths to which Kazakh investigators have gone, the Norwegian religious-freedom watchdog agency Forum 18 reported they held his sister-in-law for two weeks in an attempt to flush him out. From her cell phone they obtained the phone number of Djabbarbergenov’s wife, and tracked down the location of the family’s home, where they arrested Djabbarbergenov on Sept. 5 – his youngest son’s 2nd birthday – Forum 18 reported.
The two charges awaiting Djabbarbergenov in
The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom have designated