AZERBAIJAN: Fines follow police raids on worship

By Felix Corley | Forum 18

Azerbaijan continues to raid religious communities meeting without state permission, and large fines are normally then imposed. After one such raid an Aliabad Baptist has been told he must pay a fine of over three months average salary by the end of 2017.

Despite never receiving a written decision in the year since a court in December 2016 fined a Baptist from Aliabad in Azerbaijan’s northern Zakatala [Zaqatala] District, the court is insisting that Mehman Agamammadov pay a fine equivalent to over three months average salary by the end of 2017. While objecting to the fine to punish him for meeting with others for worship without state permission, he managed to pay a third of the fine. A Baptist Pastor fined with him is still trying to challenge his fine, which he has not paid.

The two fines were handed down after police and the local official of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations raided a meeting for worship in November 2016 because the church does not have the compulsory state registration (see below).