ASTANA -- A court in the Kazakh capital, Astana, has sentenced a Kazakh convert to a fundamentalist religious sect to seven years of de-facto house arrest after finding him guilty of inciting religious hatred.
The court ruled on November 9 that Yqylas Qabduaqasov, a 54-year-old active member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, must pay $500 to cover the cost of his trial and that his "freedom must be limited for seven years."
According to Kazakhstan's laws, "limitation of freedom" means de-facto house arrest with obligation to report to a parole officer on a weekly basis.
Qabduaqasov, who went on trial in Astana on October 9, pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was arrested in mid-August.
Several witnesses in the case testified that Qabduaqasov had expressed ideas during religious study sessions in 2014 and 2015 that insulted Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad.