On October 8, an event occurred in the saga of the 67-year-old Astana Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev that few could have foreseen. As soon as he was released from his five-month detainment, the pastor was taken into custody, right there at the exit of the Astana pretrial detention facility (SIZO). Azattyk [Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] has learned that a new criminal case has been launched with allegations of extremist activities.
Recall that the Pastor was initially placed under arrest in May of this year on the charge of causing bodily harm to one of his parishioners through hypnosis in his sermons, writes Kazis Toguzbaev for the Radio Azattyk website. The decision to transfer the Pastor to house arrest was made just before evening on Monday, October 7. The release from SIZO was processed the next day at noon. But what kind of a blow it was to the pastor’s relatives when, after three hours of waiting for their family patriarch, he was immediately placed under arrest.
A brief video of the moment of the new arrest was captured by one of the Pastor’s family members via mobile phone. Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev is showing the people surrounding him his injured leg. Next to him a woman is crying—his wife, Alfia Kashkumbaeva.
Relatives of the Pastor and his lawyer say that the 67-year-old suffers from numerous health issues and requires constant medical care. The Pastor himself asked the authorities to at least transfer him to house arrest if there was no way to drop the absurd, in his opinion, criminal charges.
And now Kashkumbaev, immediately upon exiting SIZO, is once again taken into custody. According to Nurlan Beisekeev speaking by telephone to Azattyk from the scene of action, he was detained by officers of the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs (DVD) on new charges of extremism. The officers, dressed in civilian clothes, agreed to allow the Pastor to be transported to the police station in the private car of Nurlan Beisekeev. “I was behind the wheel, and behind me sat the two officers with Bakhytzan between them. Upon arrival at the DVD he was taken to the office of Investigator Glazkov. I also made my way there. The investigator explained his reason for the detention: new charges have been filed against Kashkumbaevfor alleged extremism: article 233. I saw the ruling and read it,” said the attorney Beisekeev.
However, Nurlan Beisekeev, it would seem, is no longer the attorney for Pastor Kashkumbaev.
“The investigator took away the document with his indictment of Kashkumbaev, saying as he did so that I am not Kashkumbaev’s attorney in this new case and evicting me from the office,” says Nurlan Beisikeev. At present it is a matter of urgency that Beisekeev resolve some legal formalities in order to become the Pastor’s attorney in the new criminal case. Investigator Vyacheslav Glazkov told a correspondent of Azattyk that the charge against Kashkumbaev has not yet been filed, but that a new criminal case has indeed been opened on suspicion of criminal activity meeting the criteria of the article on extremism: article 233-1, part 1. And so Kashkumbaev is being held.
“We’ve taken him into custody,” said Investigator Vyacheslav Glazkov, explaining that the law permits them to hold suspects for three days. Human rights organizations have called for Astana to release Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev and drop the politically motivated, in their view, charges. During the previous detention, Kashkumbaev was forced to undergo a psychiatric examination, which also provoked criticism from human rights advocates.
Peter Deyneka Russian Ministries’ site