Three Protestant pastors have lost their appeal after being given four to five-year jail terms for leading a church in Almaty. This is the country’s third criminal case against the church and its leaders.
Authorities arrested three pastors from New Life Pentecostal Church after they were discovered laying hands on others in prayer.
The pastors, Maxim Maximov, Larisa Maximova and Sergei Zaikin, were accused of founding the church with “criminal intent” and causing “serious harm to the health of some parishioners.” which led to their sentencing earlier this year.
Upon losing their appeal, the pastors were ordered to pay damages to eight “victims,” as well as court fees. Five church buildings have also been confiscated.
The pastors now plan on appealing to Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court.
Pastor Ivan Kryukov, who has replaced the pastors at New Life Church, has expressed concern over the verdict and the conduct of authorities in the lead up to the arrest and recent appeal.
“This was an unjust court decision,” he said. “There is no proof that the three committed any wrongdoing.”
Ivan said that police suggested that the problems of the New Life Church would be resolved if money was paid, which he refused. Corruption and bribery are widespread in Kazakhstan.
Please pray for the future of the church in Kazakhstan.
Pray For Kazakhstan:
- Pray that Kazakh leaders will not be discouraged from sharing the gospel.
- Praise God for the patience and persistence of the pastors as they plan on appealing their conviction a second time.
- Pray that the congregation of New Life Church will be faithful servants and continue sharing God’s goodness.
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