Barnabas Aid - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Church in Azerbaijan liquidated by court...

Email:

Church in Azerbaijan liquidated by court

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Church in Azerbaijan liquidated by court

Country/Region: Azerbaijan, Central Asia

A church in Azerbaijan has become the first religious community to be liquidated by a court since the country’s harsh new religion law came into force in 2009.

Greater Grace Protestant Church in the capital, Baku, was stripped of its registration at a 15-minute hearing on 25 April. The decision, which was made in the absence of any church representatives, makes any activity by the church illegal and subject to punishment.

Church members say that they intend to challenge the ruling:

We had no faith in getting a just and legal decision from the start, so we decided  to appeal through all the local courts and take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if necessary.

azerbaijan-4x3.jpg
The church is based in the capital, Baku
Source: Самый древний, Wikimedia commons

Greater Grace has held legal registration in Azerbaijan since 1993, but the 2009 amendments to the religion law required all religious organisations to re-register.

The State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations (SCWRO), the government body that is in charge of registration, argued that Greater Grace should be stripped of its registration because it had failed to re-register with them.

The SCWRO has denied permits to many groups; hundreds that submitted applications are still waiting for a response.

The church has insisted that it has never broken the law, but the SCWRO told the court that it had “secret documents” revealing violations. The committee did not however produce these documents. 

The court’s decision will be enforced a month after the written verdict is issued, which has to happen within ten days, unless Greater Grace lodges an appeal. It has one month to do so once it receives the written verdict.

Leaders and members face hefty fines if they carry out any church-related activities such as holding meetings. An individual member could be fined between 1,500 and 2,000 Manats (£1,180-£1,570), a church officer between 7,000 and 8,000 Manats (£5,480-£6,270). The minimum monthly wage in Azerbaijan is 93.50 Manats (£73.20).  

Azerbaijan is around 90 per cent Muslim and the government gives preferential treatment to religions considered “traditional” (Islam, Russian Orthodox Christianity and Judaism).

The vast majority of religious communities to have gained state registration – 550 of 570 – are Muslim. Of the other 20, eleven are Christian, six Jewish, two Baha’i and one Hindu.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Church in Azerbaijan liquidated by court

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Give thanks to the Lord that Barnabas Aid is able to help oppressed and persecuted Christian communities by providing grants to Christian students in higher education. Pray for those who have received this help in the past, that they will give a voice to their brothers and sisters and will help to resource, empower and protect them in the face of hostility. Ask that God’s sustaining grace will uphold those who are currently studying, often under severe pressure from the majority community, and pray that they may be equipped for spiritual leadership. Praise God for their dedication to His service, and ask Him to use them powerfully in their various vocations. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:39

    © Barnabas Aid 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Aid is a registered trade mark