Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev. Photo:azzatyk.org.
Pastor of the Grace Church Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev has been given a suspended 4-year sentence with three years of probation, tengrinews reports citing the Almaty District Court #2 in Astana.
The pastor was found guilty under the article 103 of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan on charges of Inflicting severe harm to human health. He will face travel restrictions instead of imprisonment. “The defendant will have to pay $10,800 (2,000,000 tenge) for emotional damage caused to the victim,” the court ruled.
The case drew a lot of public attention in June 2011, when it was alleged that Lyazzat Almenova who attended the Grace church for three years had suffered an emotional abuse from the pastor, which brought her to schizophrenia.
Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, 67 was arrested in May 2013 for intended infliction of severe harm to Lyazzat Almenova’s health. the 34 y.o Astana native was hospitalized with paranoid schizophrenia and high suicidal risk. Almenova denies that Kashkumbayev had anything to do with her condition, but her relatives insist that his influenced destabilised her.
More charges were presented to the pastor as the investigation went on. Terrorism or extremism propaganda or public incitation for terrorist or extremist acts was one of them. But in January this year the public prosecutor filed a motion asking to remove the terrorism charges the the case as groundless and they were dropped.
Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev himself denies causing any harm of any of his church members or being involved in any other wrongdoing. He calls the charges forged and the prosecutor ignorant.
With only the health damage charge in place the pastor was given a suspended 4-year prison term, sentenced to 3 years of probation, a fine and a recognisance not to leave. At least, he is finally out of jail.