Yklas Kabduakasov was recently released after spending two years in a Kazakhstan prison (Voice of the Martyrs)
Yklas Kabduakasov spent more than two years in a Kazakhstan prison (Voice of the Martyrs)

Kazakhstan has released a 56-year-old man imprisoned for more than two years to dissuade other Muslims from converting to Christianity, reports Christian persecution charity Voice of the Martyrs.

Yklas Kabduakasov, a father of eight, was arrested in August 2015 on a charge of “inciting religious hatred”. Police confiscated Christian books after searching both his home and church at the time of the arrest.

Local Christians say Kabduakasov was targeted by the police for converting from Islam and speaking about Christianity with Muslims.

Kabduakasov’s conviction of religious extremism and the illegal distribution of religious materials was based on the evidence of Roza Akbarova, Deputy Director of Astana’s Centre for Judicial Expert Analysis, who often gives evidence in religious rights cases, according to regional news agency Forum 18.

State investigators said Kabduakasov sometimes held meetings for students at the Eurasian University from the apartment he rented. The ‘students’ were “recruited by the KNB (secret police) in a KNB-rented flat,” said Forum 18.

Kabduakasov was living in the capital, Astana. He was once a boxer and had been working as a security guard on a building site before his imprisonment.