A pastor in Shymkent spent 10 days in prison on a false charge of breaking pandemic quarantine requirements, the latest in a string of harassments. Zhetis Raulov is the pastor of New Life Church in the city of Shymkent and is familiar with how local authorities pressure Christians in this former Soviet Republic. During quarantine in April, Zhetis was summoned to meet representatives of the Religious Affairs at his church building. Aware of the predilections of authorities, Zhetis parked his car outside city limits and took a taxi to the meeting so he could not be accused of breaking quarantine driving restrictions. No one showed up for the meeting, so he returned to his car; minutes later, he was pulled over by a police car for breaking quarantine. After a five-minute trial, Zhetis was sentenced to 10 days in prison, and authorities harassed his family during that time.
A VOM field worker writes, “Pray that God would give strength, courage and wisdom to Pastor Zhetis and his family in dealing with the local authorities. Pray that the Justice Department and General Prosecutors’ office in the capital would pay attention to the lawlessness being committed against a Christian pastor.”