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 .
Appeal court upholds church closure ruli...

Email:

Appeal court upholds church closure ruling 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

Appeal court upholds church closure ruling in Azerbaijan

Country/Region: Azerbaijan, Central Asia

The highest appeal court in Azerbaijan has upheld the decision to close Greater Grace Church in an important test case for religious freedom in the country.

Baku_Azerbaijan_4X3.jpg
Greater Grace Church
is based in the capital Baku
David Davidson / CC BY 2.0

Greater Grace in the capital, Baku, appealed against the liquidation order issued on 25 April that stripped the church of its registration. It was the first religious community to be liquidated by a court since the country’s harsh new religion law came into force in 2009.

The appeal was due to take place on 17 July but was adjourned until 31 July. After a 20-minute hearing, the court decided to uphold the closure order, which also applied to the international Christian organisation that runs Greater Grace. The church now has the right to take the case to the Supreme Court. Greater Grace members had earlier said that they would go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if necessary.

The church has provided a place for Christian worship and teaching for almost 20 years, and with a congregation of nearly 500 people, is one of the larger Protestant churches in the country.

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

In bringing the case against Greater Grace, the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations (SCWRO), the government body that is in charge of registration, argued that the church 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.

Greater Grace is emphatic that it has never broken the law, but the SCWRO told the first court hearing that it had “secret documents” revealing violations. The committee did not however produce these documents. 

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

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Appeal court upholds church closure ruling 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
    • “We had this feeling that jihadists wanted to wipe out any trace of Christianity in the north of Mali. But God in His goodness has not allowed such an eventuality,” said Dr Yattara, the president of the Baptist Church in northern Mali, to World Watch Monitor in September. He was describing how most of the Christians who had fled the region when Islamist radicals took control in 2012 have now returned to their homes after French troops ousted the Islamists. Many church buildings were desecrated, looted or severely damaged, but the Christians are determined to resume their ministries. Praise God for the continued Christian presence in northern Mali, for the courage of the Christians and for the religious liberty that they have under the law. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 3 hours ago

    • Pray for the friends and family of Beatrice Mukashaka, an 18-year-old Christian woman, who was hacked to death in a savage attack by Muslims during an overnight prayer meeting at a church in Uganda. A group of around 20 Christians had gathered at the church in Kyegegwa district for their regular Friday night prayer session when armed Muslims burst into the building at around 2am. Please pray for all who mourn for Beatrice and that the assailants will be brought to justice. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Churches in Christian-majority Burundi are facing the unfamiliar situation of political restriction by their own government because of a new law passed in August that requires each church to have at least 500 members and a proper building. Congregations have a year in which to comply with the new regulations. Although intended to reduce some scandalous practices, the law is strangely reminiscent of the strict regimes of Central Asia. Pray that religious liberty will be maintained in Burundi, both for Christians and for the small minorities who follow other religions. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for eight Cameroonian missionaries who have been harshly reminded of the cost of sharing the Gospel in their country during a training seminar to equip them for ministry. Barnabas had helped to fund a series of seminars, and on the final day of the last seminar they heard that Jean-Marcel Kesvere, another Cameroonian missionary, who had been planning to attend the seminar with his wife, had been kidnapped by Boko Haram and that his body had been found earlier that day. Give thanks for the response of the missionaries, who expressed their willingness to suffer similarly for Christ, and pray that their work will bear much fruit (John 12:24). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Please pray for Christians in northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is terrorising people, especially Christians and security forces, just as in neighbouring Nigeria. The Islamist militants openly declare themselves to be Boko Haram, and issue threats by letter, including to pastors telling them they must leave. Two pastors were killed in the village of Assigashia on the night of 25-26 August, hich has caused great distress and consternation. The Cameroonian Christians ask for prayer that God will bring peace and security, that the kidnapped will be released, that believers will stand firm despite being targeted, that God will comfort the traumatised, and that church leaders will know how to prepare their people for persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

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