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 .
Plans for harsh new penalties for religi...

Email:

Plans for harsh new penalties for religious activities 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

Plans for harsh new penalties for religious activities in Azerbaijan

Country/Region: Azerbaijan, Central Asia

People who produce or distribute religious literature that has not been vetted by the state in Azerbaijan could face up to five years in jail under proposed changes to legislation.

The measure is included in several proposed 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.

20110311-Azerbaijan-4X3.jpg
A church in Azerbaijan
(Source: Azerman, Wikimedia Commons)

Those who produce or distribute unapproved religious literature could alternatively be fined up to 9,000 Manats (£7,110; US$11,430), which equates to nearly nine years’ official minimum wage. Religious literature is subject to censorship in Azerbaijan, and state licences are required to sell it.

Fines are set to increase substantially for a range of offences, including obstructing others from conducting religious rituals, forcing others to conduct religious rituals, and:

"Creation of a group carrying out activity under the pretext of spreading a religious faith and carrying out religious activity and by this illegally harming social order, or harming the health of citizens or violating the rights of citizens irrespective of the form of infringement, as well as distracting citizens from performance of duties established by law, as well as leadership of such a group or participation in it".

Observers have noted the vague and wide-ranging language used, which they say appears to be designed to broaden the possibilities for the repression of religious freedom.

The amendments have already been approved by two parliamentary committees and are expected to be passed by the full parliament in mid-November.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly amended its laws to restrict the exercise of religious freedom and other human rights. The country’s Religion Law, which was first adopted in 1992, has been amended 13 times.   

One of these amendments, in 2009, required all religious organisations to re-register with the state. Hundreds of groups are still waiting for approval, and the process has become more difficult following further amendments this year that now require 50 rather than ten adult founders.

Christians have been affected by these changes. One church, the Cathedral of Praise, had to fight a long legal battle and, despite finally winning its case against the State Committee in July this year, has still not been re-registered.

Three other congregations were warned earlier this year not to meet for worship because they were not registered. One of the churches was raided by police in March to prevent its Sunday service from going ahead.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Plans for harsh new penalties for religious activities 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

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Iranian Pastor Behnam continues to serve a six-year prison sentence. He is in solitary confinement and suffers serious health problems. Pray for his congregation left leaderless and desolate. Pray that God will be his refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1) Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 10 hours ago

    • Remembering that the infant Lord Jesus Himself fled from threats of violence with His parents, pray for the Pakistanis from various persecuted minorities who had sought asylum in Sri Lanka but are now being deported back to Christmas concert at a school in Bethlehem that Barnabas Fund supports Pakistan. This is happening despite protests by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Those being deported include Christians, Ahmadiyyas and Shia Muslims, all of whom are vulnerable to persecution in Pakistan. For example, any Christian who has been accused under the “blasphemy law” is at extreme risk of being murdered even if they have been cleared of the charges. Pray for their protection. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Dec 2014 00:00

    • As we remember the coming into the world of our Emmanuel (God with us), pray that His presence will be very real to Christians who suffer today for His Name, to those enduring hardship and abuse in prison, those who will go hungry today because of discrimination and injustice, those who face taunts and hostility daily at work or school, and those who are subject to pressure to convert to another religion. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Dec 2014 00:00

    • In an initiative that discriminates against Christian staff and pupils, the Indian government has announced a plan to celebrate “good governance day” on 25 December, introducing an essay competition with a financial award as an incentive for turnout. As part of this initiative, schools will also remain open on 24 and 25 December. Please pray that the government will consider the impact of this initiative on Christians and change the proposed date. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Dec 2014 00:00

    • The Maleme ostrich farm which provides employment and skills training for local Zimbabweans through the Ebenezer programme is under threat. The authorities are in the process of seizing the land, ordering its Christian owners to abandon everything. The farm also generates enough income to sustain the Shalom facilities, a much-used campsite for Christian organisations and churches that has been running since 1958. Both Ebenezer and Shalom would have to be closed down if the land is occupied. Pray for wisdom for the leaders of Ebenezer and Shalom as they seek to show grace to the authorities in the midst of these heart-breaking negotiations. Pray that God’s justice will prevail and that the land will be kept for His purposes. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Dec 2014 00:00

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