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Morgana Post number 25710 Posted: 28th June 2019     Subject: "We don't have censorship", but three books banned
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21 June 2019

KAZAKHSTAN: "We don't have censorship", but three books banned
By Felix Corley, Forum 18

Kazakhstan has banned three books by authors associated with the banned Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary movement.
A Prosecutor's Office official claimed to Forum 18 that the three books include calls to "extremism and terrorism",
but neither the court nor "expert analyses" backed this. "We don't have censorship, we just check the content of religious publications,"
another official claimed.

On 8 May a court in the city of Karaganda banned three Muslim books as "extremist", not because they called for harm to anyone's human rights
but because the authors are associated with the banned Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary movement. The decision came into force on 11 June.

The Prosecutor's Office official who led the case in court in May 2019 claimed to Forum 18 that the three books include calls to "extremism and terrorism". She refused to explain how they call for this. However, despite her claim that they include calls to "terrorism", the court did not find the books to be "terrorist". Two of the "expert analyses" prepared for the case specifically say that the books contain no incitement to hatred (see below).

One of the newly-banned books is by a former prisoner of conscience associated with Tabligh Jamaat, who completed a two-year jail term in 2017 (see below).

The three Muslim books were among religious items seized in raids on six Muslims in Karaganda in October 2017. Three of the men were sentenced to three years' jail each in April 2018. The other three were fined (see below).

Courts have banned numerous Muslim and Christian books and websites as "extremist". Court hearings often take place without any publicity, making it difficult for anyone to challenge the decisions (see below).

In addition, courts on occasion order religious literature confiscated from individuals in police raids as part of administrative proceedings to be destroyed. In the most recent known case, on 8 May a court in Kyzylorda ordered 29 Muslim books seized from a commercial seller to be destroyed (see below).

No religious literature or object can be printed, published or imported without passing state censorship. An official of the "Religious Studies Expert Analysis [Censorship] and Co-operation with Religious Educational Establishments Organisations Department" of the state Religious Affairs Committee denied to Forum 18 that such compulsory state censorship amounts to censorship. "We don't have censorship, we just check the content of religious publications," she claimed (see below).

Jehovah's Witnesses have not faced bans on importing specific religious texts into Kazakhstan since 2015. Four of their complaints concerning the earlier censorship and banning of 19 of their publications are pending with the United Nations Human Rights Committee (see below).

read on...
http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2488
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