The Words of the Jenkins Family after 2008
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A grave injustice has been done in Kazakhstan. Our sister Elizaveta Drenicheva has been sentenced to two years in prison for practicing her faith. The world movement must engage this injustice and get her released and her conviction overturned. Mr. Peter Zoeher wrote the report below. Please watch the You Tube video of her trial with English subtitles. It is deeply disturbing. The U.S. State Department was briefed on this through Mr. Dan Fefferman and the International Coalition for Religious Freedom. The US Embassy sent an observer to the trial to show its concern, and Radio Free Europe has covered the case as a violation of human rights. The Unification faith is a registered with Kazakhstan officially and we are shocked and saddened that someone is targeting our members there for persecution. Our Muslim Ambassadors for Peace are now being briefed on this and letters of concern and support will be sent. Please pray for Elizaveta. Will keep you posted.
Mr. Zoeher's article is below. There is a You Tube video that gives news coverage of the governments work to eliminate religious freedom. www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWz2onB5MU0 This video shows Elizaveta smiling as she is being handcuffed in remembrance of how Father Moon smiled when he was led away to communist prison in Korea in 1948.
Rev. Michael Jenkins President
Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formerly known as the Unification Church) USA
Almaty/Vienna: On January 9, 2009 Elizaveta Drenicheva (28) had to go to jail in Almaty, the second capitol of Kazakhstan. The pronounced punishment for the young missionary is no less than two years behind bars in a district prison. According to the prosecutor, E. Drenicheva was sentenced for “having committed heavy crimes against the peace and security of humanity.”
Mrs. Drenicheva, who is a Russian citizen, has joined the Unification Church in 1995. She is blessed in marriage with her husband who is from Russia. Three years ago she started her missionary work in Kazakhstan.
Already in April last year the Committee for National Security (KNB - former KGB) of Almaty undertook operations, such as bugging phones and offices. Also they are said to have observed Church members and associates in their activities related to the Unification Church, which has been a registered NGO in the country since 1997.
Elizaveta Drenicheva reports in her own words: “On July 2nd, 2008 at 6 am KGB officers broke into the building of the Peace Embassy as well as into our flats to make a random search. They took away all our literature and computers. I was arrested. Other members where asked not to leave the country. After two days I was released from the pre-trail prison and had to sign a written pledge not to leave the country.
On October 24 legal proceedings got under way in the Almalinskiy District Court of the City of Almaty. I was accused according to the article 164 part 2 of the Criminal Code of Republic of Kazakhstan for having violated the peace and security of humanity.”
The big crime: Mrs. Drenicheva gathered 4 people for a seminar and over a course of four days she taught to her audience the Unification Principles, the Theology of the Church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
An operational agent of the KNB, under the pseudonym Medvedev and with authorization of the office of prosecutor, infiltrated the audience and covertly recorded four lectures.
Her teaching must have appeared to the undercover KNB agents to be dangerous to listeners from the standpoint of their potential implications for overthrowing the constitutional order, for violating the integrity of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and for propagating religious and other types of conflict.
This is how the agent continues to analyze the content of the lectures: “The materials presented contain a) propagands demeaning persons for signs of their ethnic affinity and b) propaganda demeaning persons for signs of their class affinity. Moreover it shows signs of harmful effects on individual, family, society, and likewise the moral integrity of the state.”
Evgeniy Zhovtis, the chief of the Kazakhstan International Bureau of Human Rights, summed up the situation: “You could hardly imagine a better way to discredit our country.” In his opinion, this trial clearly portrays the level and stature of the Kazakh government agencies from the bottom up. The teaching does not contain great differences from the other religions. Do we have to worry now, that the government starts putting also priests, monks and nuns into jails?
Mr. Zhovits continues: “For in fact this is the nation which is slated to occupy the chair at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010, the nation which is bragging all over the place about its experience in resolving international conflicts! The fact that such a trial even got under way is truly a disgrace. Shame on a country that has suffered so much due to religious persecution that one can scarcely even imagine?”
The expert on human rights is referring to Kazakhstan”s expected OSCE Presidency in 2010. This has not been confirmed yet, since a proposed new law on religion has caused an outrage of critique from the international human rights community as well as from OSCE itself. The draft of the law is said to fail the OSCE standards of human rights by far. That may well be the main reason why the passing of the law is still on hold.
In October at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (Warsaw) Kazakhstan was heavily rebuked by various human rights defenders and NGOs for restrictive measures on religious communities and the proposed law. One of the examples for that practice was the tearing down of the only Krishna Temple in the country.
Now a young missionary women has been jailed for doing nothing else but practicing her religious duties in proclaiming her faith.