Kazakhstan – Authorities again urged to drop all charges against atheist blogger

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Reporters Without Borders is relieved by journalist and atheist blogger Alexander Kharlamov's release from prison into house arrest yesterday but reiterates its call for the withdrawal of all the charges against him so that he can recover his full freedom.


"Kharlamov's ordeal has dragged on for too long," Reporters Without Borders said. "After six months in pre-trial detention, including several weeks in a psychiatric clinic against his will, no hard evidence has been produced to support the grave accusations made against him.

"We hope that, after the additional investigation requested by the prosecution, the judicial authorities will recognize that the charges were trumped-up and will compensate him. The growing use of enforced psychiatric hospitalization for dissidents highlights the disturbant reemergence of the worst Soviet practices in support of Kazakhstan's current crackdown."

Written By: Reporters Without Borders
continue to source article at trust.org

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  1. As well as criticizing religion in his blog and in books published online, Kharlamov is known locally for investigating and combatting corruption.

    Yeah,sounds like a really bad egg.And would you look at his photo.Dangerous.

    A really screwed up world we live in where criminals stride around boldly and good men are jailed.

  2. I lived in Kazakhstan for several months and traveled throughout much of the country. Most people are not very religious although I did meet some Mormon missionaries and Christian evangelicals working to change that. As I passed an evangelical church, much to my amusement, there was graffiti, written in English, which said “Please stop fucking with my brain”. I wish I had a camera. Nazarbayev, the leader of Kazakhstan, is using this law to stifle dissent more than from any sense of religious sensibilities I think.

    It is primarily a Muslim country but to give you an idea of their religiosity there is a common saying there which they all use to describe how much they love bread. This saying is approximately “We love bread so much we would step on the Koran in order to reach the bread high on the shelf.”

  3. I felt I must comment on this post because this is just up my street. I lived in Kazakhstan in the 90′s, in fact I was an evangelical missionary there with fervent zeal, learning the kazak language, praying for the bible to be translated into Kazak, Uzbek, Uighyr, Tadjik, & the Karakalpak language, desperately trying to convert as many people as I could (well, try to brainwash them).
    After the fall of communism, religious groups poured into the central Asian states, most of them rooted in the US, even our evangelical mission had massive funding from the US. Anyhow, getting back to Kazakhstan, I found that in general they weren’t religious but over the years there are more radical groups with roots in Peshawar making more of a noise in Kazakhstan.
    In general, Nazarbayev pushed for more religious tolerance during the 90′s and this led to more church planting by various christian religions, and so they gained ground (WHy is it that the christian religion has become an expert at converting people??).
    This is kazak guy who I desperately tried to convert on a university campus (that’s right, I was one of them guys who tried to convert people on university campuses) has now become a muslim radical and is regularly on TV promoting Islam and involved in debates. I’ve become an atheist and he has become what I used to be, the only difference being that he’s a fervent muslim. There does seem to be amongst young Kazaks fervent nationalism mixed with religion but these are a minority and these people are usually rural Kazaks.

    When I think back to them days in Kazakhstan as a missionary, one of the famous lines amongst evangelicals when people ask you if you are religious is, “NO, I’M NOT RELIGIOUS, I HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JC!!” When I think back to some of the stuff I used to believe and try to get others to believe, it’s just totally bonkers. “The believing brain” by Michael Shermer was a wake up call.

    • In reply to #5 by kazakwelsh atheist:

      I felt I must comment on this post because this is just up my street. I lived in Kazakhstan in the 90′s, in fact I was an evangelical missionary there with fervent zeal, learning the kazak language, praying for the bible to be translated into Kazak, Uzbek, Uighyr, Tadjik, & the Karakalpak language…

      I’m really curious about the cause of your change of mindset. Was it something you read, or was it just a personal epiphany? Off topic I guess, but all those people in Kazakhstan were just ripe for conversion. How does it happen?

      • While I lived in Kazakhstan, I met a Kazak girl and we fell in love. I told my missionary organisation and they sent me home because I had been a bad boy by showing an interest in her. They would always quote the scripture “thou shall no be unequally yoked with unbelievers”, said that the devil was using her to draw me away from my faith and so this started my long journey towards rationalism.

        I came back to Wales and started read rationalistic books like “the god delusion”, “letters to a christian nation”, and books by Carl Sagan, Michael Shermer (he’s one of my favourites). Even before I met who was to become my future wife, I started having doubts but always tried to block these thoughts out of my head for fear of becoming an apostate. My wife never had any kind of religious faith and when we first met for about a year, I tried my best to convert her (brainwash her) but my wife would always calmly say that she wasn’t interested. She was amazing to put up with me and no, she never tried to make me an atheist, I just started reading books that had been anathema to me during my Jesus days. If I look back, if I would of been still heavily involved with fundamentalism, then they would of influenced me not to read rationalistic books but because I became fed up with the whole religious trip, this was to be the beginning of my journey towards rationalism. People like Sartre or Dawkins are the devil incarnate in some religious circles including the one I was in.

        In reply to #6 by Nitya:

        In reply to #5 by kazakwelsh atheist:

        I felt I must comment on this post because this is just up my street. I lived in Kazakhstan in the 90′s, in fact I was an evangelical missionary there with fervent zeal, learning the kazak language, praying for the bible to be translated into Kazak, Uzbek, Uig…

        • In reply to #7 by kazakwelsh atheist:

          While I lived in Kazakhstan, I met a Kazak girl and we fell in love. I told my missionary organisation and they sent me home because I had been a bad boy by showing an interest in her. They would always quote the scripture “thou shall no be unequally yoked with unbelievers”, said that the devil wa…

          That’s really interesting. I suspect the doubts started to seep in before you began reading the atheist literature. People say that there’s no point in trying to change the minds of believers, but I think inevitably doubts will emerge and that will lead to people seeking answers.

          There are many believers who contribute their explanations to this site. I’m generally of the opinion that these people are just testing the waters because they are starting to have doubts themselves. They’re trying to see if the reasoning actually holds water.

          It’s so much easier to find answers these days. Those of the previous generation had to really search for the atheist viewpoint. I know my father was influenced by Bertrand Russell. That was pretty much all that was readily available. Now there are books aplenty if you’re motivated to seek them out.

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