Home > Anything Else, Radical Islam > Court of Muslim Majority Azerbaijan Liquidates Christian Church

Court of Muslim Majority Azerbaijan Liquidates Christian Church

By Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service – “In a 15-minute hearing yesterday afternoon (25 April), Judge Tahira Asadova of Administrative Economic Court No. 1 in the Azerbaijani capital Baku ruled to liquidate the Greater Grace Protestant Church, the judge’s assistant Parviz Zalyshov told Forum 18 News Service on 26 April. This is the first known enforced liquidation of a religious community since Azerbaijan’s harsh new Religion Law was adopted in 2009. When the ruling comes into force, any religious activity the Church or its members engage in will be illegal and subject to heavy punishment. The Church – which has had legal registration for 19 years – told Forum 18 it will appeal against the decision.

Asked how Judge Asadova could have taken a decision which means that any activity the Church engages in would be illegal and subject to punishment, her secretary Sevinj Ahmedova told Forum 18: ‘The court has decided.’ She said the decision will enter into force a month after the written verdict is issued, unless the Church lodges an appeal…

The 25 April hearing took place in the absence of any Church representatives. The lawyer had sent a telegram to the court asking for the hearing to be postponed because of illness…

However, both she and Zalyshov insisted the Judge had no choice but to go ahead. ‘There is a deadline of three months to complete a case,’ Zalyshov told Forum 18. ‘Yesterday was the last day. The Church knew that.’…

In defiance of its international human rights commitments, Azerbaijan has banned all exercise of freedom of religion or belief without state permission, imposing heavy penalties…

As of 26 April, only 570 religious communities are listed as registered on the State Committee website. Of these, 550 are of the state-backed Caucasian Muslim Board.” Read more.

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