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Azerbaijan church could fall victim to Religion Law comment (0)

April 12, 2012

BAKU, Azerbaijan — Azerbaijan’s State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations has moved to close down Greater Grace Church in Baku, the capital, for failing to regain the compulsory re-registration. This is thought to be the first attempt to compulsorily close a religious community through the courts since compulsory re-registration was imposed by the harsh 2009 Religion Law. 

If successful, the church would lose the legal right to exist. The unregistered exercise of religion or belief is illegal under the Religion Law, against international human rights standards. Church members rejected the suit, insisting that “illegal liquidation” of its legal status — which it has had since 1993 — would violate the “constitutional rights to freedom of religion” of members. 

Judge Tahira Asadova will hand down her decision April 12, her assistant told Forum 18.

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