Open Doors describes the oil-rich former Soviet republic as “the country with the most sophisticated and intelligent dictatorship”. Religious freedom is enshrined in the Constitution, but constrained by the regular tightening of policies and regulations governing religious activity. Successive rounds of re-registration have diminished the number of qualified Baptist Union congregations from ten to zero. While the government burnishes its freedom credentials before international audiences, at home its agents infiltrate church congregations. It reviews all religious publications. Mission work by foreigners is outlawed.

 

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Azerbaijan court turns down Baptist pastor’s appeal

Hamid Shabanov in 2007. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Azerbaijan’s Constitutional Court in the capital, Baku, has informed Baptist pastor Hamid Shabanov that it will not be considering his appeal against a large fine for meeting for worship without state permission, reports regional news agency Forum 18. He cannot appeal to the higher Supreme Court because his offence was […]

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Azerbaijan: ‘no fair trial’ for house-church leader appealing against fine

Hamid Shabanov in 2007. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

An Azerbaijani man fined for leading a “house church” without state permission has not been treated fairly during his appeal against the fine, a local source has told World Watch Monitor. The source, who wishes to remain anonymous, said there have been “multiple violations of law and process” against Hamid […]

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Azerbaijan registers Bible Society after 20 years, but will it be able to print Bibles?

Azerbaijan registers Bible Society after 20 years, but will it be able to print Bibles?

The recent registration of a Bible Society in Azerbaijan, after a 20-year fight, has brought fresh optimism to the country’s minority Christians, but there remains some confusion about the types of books it will be allowed to print, with even Bibles potentially falling foul of the country’s strict regulations. Terje […]

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Azerbaijani Baptists win appeal

Two Baptists in Azerbaijan’s north-eastern Zakatala district, Pastor Zaur Balaev and Hinayat Shabanova, have had fines for participating in unregistered religious meetings overturned on appeal. Related Articles:Azerbaijani Christians fined over ‘illegal’…Azerbaijani Christians face fines for ‘illegal’…Azerbaijan registers Bible Society after 20 years, but will…Demolition of crosses in Zhejiang: a sign […]

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Appeals Judge in Azerbaijan to Decide Fate of Church

A Christian congregation in Azerbaijan is waiting pensively to see if a judge will uphold a court order that banned its right to meet and “liquidated” the church. “They are upset, but at the same time they continue coming out hoping for the best,” said Mechti Suleymanov, an elder at […]

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