Back to Main Page

Drenicheva Case Archives

Thank you for your interest in the case of Elizaveta 'Lisa' (or 'Liza') Drenicheva, who was unjustly imprisoned in Kazakhstan.
That country is spending a fortune on a PR campaign, with costly magazine advertisements, telling the world how modern and prosperous they've become. However, it seems they forgot one little thing: freedom.
Elizaveta was set free in March 2009, and I'm leaving up these links as a record of this fateful series of events.

Note: unfortunately, though as usual, with the passage of several years many of these links are now broken. (The content could still be retrieved from the Internet Archive's handy Wayback Machine, however that's not directly linkable.)

The Kazakh government has repealed Article 164. That's the good news, and thanks very much to all of you for your efforts on behalf of religious freedom. The bad news is, they're going ahead and busting "unregistered" Baptist preachers. (IIRC this was one of the old KGB's favorite occupations, since the Baptists declined to gain that sanction, especially from rulers so many people considered illegitimate.
One more step to go . . .

Kazakhstan Backs Off

Radio Liberty has brought this case to the attention of the world. (In modern web style, they're also hosting a vigorous discussion thread.)

Rights Defenders

The Kazakh government's own Human Rights office is protesting this travesty of justice. (Please make allowances for a sometimes awkward English translation.)

Information Letter

American Thinker ran a short article of mine in their 1/24/09 issue. (They're usually ferocious partisans, but this is an issue for liberals and conservatives and libertarians alike.)

AT article

(A big thanks to UPI for publishing a reprint of my article on their web site. Account registration is needed to view that site, which is intended for budding journalists.)

Here is a chilling overview, in the form of a YouTube video with footage from Kazakhstan's television news. (You can see the local woman who is her religious director, as well as a moderate Kazakh Muslim leader speaking in her support.)

Drenicheva News Report

Click to download Elizaveta's letters written from prison. They are formatted as one-page MSWord Doc files. (Please understand that her primary language is Russian, and the translation is spotty.)
Seems that even the prison guards are surprised at the supposed "crime" for which she has now become their ward. Also, the prison facility supplies almost nothing--even cups must be supplied from outside.
"HDH" stands for Hoon Dok Hae, a Korean phrase which refers to traditional Unificationist morning study devotionals.

Elizaveta's First Letter Elizaveta's Second Letter Elizaveta's Third Letter

Here is an official statement by the Rev. Michael Jenkins, on behalf of Unificationists in the United States:

Jenkins Letter

(It is followed by a separate report by Peter Zoehrer of Austria, which is also available for download as a 2-page MSWord Doc here.)

Here is a review of, with quotations from, the relevant Kazakh law (now repealed!), as posted by Forum 18, a Norwegian human rights organization.
(The link is to a PDF file.)

Article 164

Here is Forum 18's overview of religious freedom in Kazakhstan.

Dangerous Precident

A Unificationist in Europe has created a web domain, with sections in Russian and English, to draw interest to the case. This site has all of her letters posted. (It also accepts posts from concerned individuals.)


Here's an overview from one Unificationist's personal web site.

Landslide Page

Here is a less formal discussion forum post by a Unificationist sports fan, made as a public appeal. (That forum accepts comments from its members, and though usually about sports, this developed into a vigorous argument.)

Moonie Girl

What to do?
Want to start off easy? You can join the Facebook Group.

Petition to Free Lisa Drenicheva

Several Unificationists are raising funds to help, including specific plans to gain more publicity. (Enough money has been raised to send a well-known journalist to cover Lisa's next legal hearing on March 10th, 2009.)

Free Lisa Drenicheva!

The US State Department has a mandate to promote freedom around the world, and this would be a good time for them to get involved!

The Office of International Religious Freedom

The OSCE has pledged to uphold, and appears to be working toward, religious freedom. (Kazakhstan is slated to chair that prestigious international organization in 2010.)

OSCE Centre in Bishkek

Kazakhstan has embassies in Washington and at the UN in New York. (Please be polite and clear in your communications with them.)

Kazakh US Embassy

Kazakh UN Mission

Also, you can send a letter to Elizaveta, via Peter Zoehrer. The email address is, webmaster /at/ religiousfreedom \dot\ info. He will pass it along, with a printed translation if necessary.

By the way, Unificationists aren't the only victims of this wave of repression. A couple of years ago, the Kazakh government cracked down on the Hare Krishna movement in that country. Perhaps they assumed that such a relatively small, and often controversial, movement would make an easy target. I hate to say this, but they may have picked well -- the Krishnas got crushed, and with hardly a peep from the international community.
Whatever your opinion of that movement, Rev. Niemoller's timeless warning holds true!

Krishna crackdown video

Top of Page