Barnabas Fund - 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 .
Pastor facing criminal charges following...

Email:

Pastor facing criminal charges following church raid in Azerbaijan

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

Pastor facing criminal charges following church raid in Azerbaijan

Country/Region: Azerbaijan, Central Asia

A pastor has been threatened with criminal proceedings following a raid on his church as further measures to restrict religious freedom in the country come into force.

Pastor Telman Aliev’s church in Neftechala was raided during a Sunday service on 11 December. Those present were questioned and then told that the church, which has been unable to re-register with the state for over a decade, was closed; the officials took the keys and sealed the building, though it was later re-opened.

The-Azerbaijani-Parliament-4X3
The Azerbaijani Parliament (Milli Majlis) building
CC BY-ND 2.0 / Salvatore Freni Jr

One official said:

Without registration you can’t pray. We close any place of worship that isn’t registered.

They seized around 200 items of literature, including Bibles and magazines, as well as audio and video recordings, for vetting by the state committee that carries out Azerbaijan’s compulsory censorship of all religious literature. 

On 23 December, the pastor, his wife and all church members were summoned for police questioning. The pastor had earlier been told that “a criminal case had been launched over religious literature arousing incitement over other faiths”.

He had previously been pressured by the authorities to leave Neftechala and now lives in the capital Baku, travelling down each week to lead church services.

New laws impose harsh penalties

Amendments to the country’s Criminal and Administrative Codes that create new penalties or increase the severity of existing punishments for a range of religious activities came into force on 12 December.

These include the introduction of a prison term of up to five years for those who produce or distribute religious literature that has not been vetted by the state.

They were passed by the Azerbaijani parliament on 15 November before being signed into law by the president.

One member of parliament, Ganira Pashaeva, said:

Today in Azerbaijan various religious sects and movements are increasing their propaganda. It is necessary to harshen the measures being adopted to put a halt to this.

The measures have been criticised by Baku’s Media Rights Institute as “a violation of the right to freedom of expression protected by law.”

They are the latest in a long series of laws that have increasingly restricted religious freedom in Azerbaijan.

Religious groups have been forced to re-register five times since 1992. Many of their applications, including Pastor Aliev’s church, which lost its registration in 1999, have been met with no response.  

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Pastor facing criminal charges following church raid in Azerbaijan

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

Latest Emergency

/_images_files/content/article_files/General_Appeals/Christmas_2014/iraq-group-4X3.jpg

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Pray for 27 Christians, believed to be from various Asian countries, who were detained overnight by the Saudi authorities on 5 September for worshipping at a private home in Khafji. The home had been under surveillance since a neighbour had reported suspicious activities there. Pray that the Lord will protect His people in Saudi Arabia, where it is illegal to practise a non-Islamic religion in public but supposedly permissible to do so in private. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 6 hours ago

    • Wao, a predominantly Christian town on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, is protesting against its inclusion in the new semi-independent Islamic region of Bangsamoro. Wao’s mayor, Elvino Balicao, is seeking exemption from the Bangsamoro government and its Islamic law and has asked that the town remain under the central government. He said that the town is 83% Christian and that local churches support exemption from Bangsamoro. Wao is in the centre of the Muslim-majority province of Lanao del Sur. Pray that the Lord will protect His people and that Wao will gain exemption from the Bangsamoro government. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Our Father in Heaven, we lift up our brothers and sisters serving sentences in labour camps in North Korea, whether foreigners like Kenneth Bae from the USA, or the far greater number of North Korean believers whose names we do not know but You do. Please pour out Your grace into their lives as they suffer hunger, exhaustion, pain and imprisonment for the sake of Christ. May they continue steadfast in their faith, loving their enemies and praying for their persecutors. May their Christ-like lives draw other North Koreans to You. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Nov 2014 00:00

    • “It is not typical for a man to show or talk about his weaknesses and admit them. These days the fear and pressure from the authorities and the Muslim world reveal the condition of my heart.” A Christian leader in Central Asia shared frankly in a letter the way in which the constant pressure he faced was wearing him down. He wrote how, having finally recognised his fears and defeats, he had then received encouragement from the Lord through the words of 2 Corinthians 1:1-10. Pray for our brother “M.T.” and the countless other Christians around the world living with ongoing opposition that the Father of compassion and God of all comfort will draw close and comfort them in all their troubles. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Thank the Lord that, with the help of Barnabas Fund, two house churches in a strict Central Asian country were able to purchase coal-powered generators. Winters there are harsh, and the power supply can Barnabas is helping 30,000 displaced Iraqi Christians be erratic. This particular congregation used to meet in a church building, but in 2009 their permit to assemble was revoked and seven of their members were questioned at the police station. Since then the church has had to meet in members’ homes. Pray that the Lord will continue to bless their ministry and that the generators will allow the church to continue to expand despite opposition from the government. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Nov 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks