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Kazakh Woman On Trial For Downloading Bible Is Acquitted


SHYMKENT, Kazakhstan -- A court in Kazakhstan has acquitted a woman who was charged with illegal missionary activity after she showed another person how to download the Bible on a smartphone.

The South Kazakhstan Regional Court, in the city of Shymkent, found Dilobarkhon Sultanova not guilty on March 13.

Sultanova was charged in January after she showed a woman she met at the New Life protestant church in December how to download the Bible on her smartphone. The woman later filed a complaint against Sultanova with local police, accusing her of illegally propagating Christianity.

Kazakhstan is a multiethnic country of almost 18 million people with a Muslim majority and a large Russian Orthodox minority.

Although freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution, there have been several cases where followers of religions considered "nontraditional" have been sentenced to prison terms on charges of inciting discord or conducting illegal missionary activities.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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