Friday, April 25, 2014

KAZAKHSTAN: Jailed over Easter; new deportation order

Jehovah's Witness Toporov has failed in his attempt at Almaty City Court to overturn the lower court decision to fine and deport him for addressing a Jehovah's Witness meeting. On 15 April, Judge Nurlan Kurmangaliyev rejected his appeal, according to the decision seen by Forum 18. "I'll have 30 days to leave Kazakhstan when the decision enters into legal force," Toporov told Forum 18 from Almaty on 22 April. He said he had received the written decision on 21 April and today (22 April) lodged a further appeal to Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office. In his appeal he asked the General Prosecutor's Office to halt the deportation process while the appeal is heard. He has not paid the fine. Toporov, a Russian citizen, has lived in Kazakhstan since 2003 and married a Kazakh citizen in 2007. "If I fail to have the decision overturned I'll have to leave for Russia," he lamented to Forum 18. "Of course I want to be with my wife, so she'll have to leave too." Addressing own community is "missionary activity"? Toporov was prosecuted for addressing a meeting of Almaty's registered Jehovah's Witness community on 23 November 2013, according to the 3 March 2014 decision of Almaty's Inter-district Specialised Administrative Court seen by Forum 18. He was punished under Administrative Code Article 375, Part 3.

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