Society 20:15 24/02/2015

In Azerbaijan, Jehovah's Witnesses can face up to five years in prison for distributing religious literature

A Judge in the Azerbaijani capital Baku ordered two female Jehovah's Witnesses to be held for three months in the National Security Ministry secret police investigation prison, according to the decisions seen by Forum 18 News Service. Irina Zakharchenko and Valida Jabrayilova face up to five years' imprisonment if convicted of offering religious literature without state permission.

"This is a gross violation of the human rights of two innocent women, who are currently imprisoned because of their religious beliefs. The court's decision contradicts both Azerbaijani and international law," complained Jehovah's Witnesses members.
According to the article trouble began for Jehovah's Witnesses Zakharchenko, a 54-year-old pensioner, and 38-year-old Jabrayilova on 5 December 2014. They were going from door to door to discuss their faith and offer copies of Jehovah's Witness publications in Pirallahi. One of the residents reportedly filed a complaint against them to the district police for illegal distribution of religious literature. However, the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations - which implements the compulsory state censorship of all religious literature published in or imported into Azerbaijan - approved import of this publication on 11 August 2014. State Committee Deputy Chair Gunduz Ismayilov authorised the State Customs Committee to allow the import of 2,000 copies of the book, the Forum 18 notes.

As noted in the article the women's relatives (Zakharchenko's son and Jabrayilova's mother) came to the investigation prison to try to meet them. However, prison officials refused them. As the article notes, this is the first time Jehovah's Witnesses have been imprisoned on criminal charges not connected to refusal to serve in the armed forces, Forum 18 notes. In recent years the only non-Muslim prisoners of conscience jailed for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief have been Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors to compulsory military service, Forum 18 notes. In recent years several Protestant Christians have also served prison sentences to punish them for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief.

According to the article it was among Azerbaijan's prisons visited by a delegation from the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in December 2012. However, the Azerbaijani government has refused to allow the Committee to publish its report of the visit.

Forum 18 reminds that a Judge in Sumgait sentenced Sunni Muslim Zohrab Shikhaliyev to six months' imprisonment to punish him for maintaining a prayer room in his home. “Shikhaliyev established a Sunni Muslim prayer room in his home more than two years ago as no other Sunni mosque exists in Sumgait. The government is hostile to Sunni Muslims,” the publication reads.

The representative of the State Committee for Work with Religious Associations refused to discuss the problem with the “Forum 18.” The article notes that Many Muslims are in prison or on trial for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. The largest single group consists of those imprisoned to punish them for protesting on the streets of Baku in October 2012 against a 2010 Education Ministry ban on girls wearing a headscarf (hijab) in schools. Ten are still imprisoned



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

20:33
Opposition factions ask Armenian president to challenge legality of community enlargement bill in top court
The opposition Armenia and With Honor factions in the Armenian parliament have asked President Armen Sarkissian to challenge the legality of the...
20:15
Greta Thunberg lambasts world leaders over climate crisis
Greta Thunberg has excoriated global leaders over their promises to address the climate emergency, dismissing them as “blah, blah,...
19:28
2022 Oscars: Armenia selects ‘Should the Wind Drop’ for international feature film category
Armenia will submit filmmaker Nora Martirosyan’s “Should the Wind Drop” (Si le vent tombe), a drama about Artsakh, for...
18:34
Converse Bank: A success story – green energy
Optimum Energy was founded in 2013. The company is engaged in the construction of solar stations, and we also have our own solar stations....
18:22
Freedom House urges Armenian authorities to immediately stop enforcement of ‘unconstitutional’ insult law
Freedom House notes with concern the recent criminal case opened against a Facebook user who insulted Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in...
17:57
Student who threw egg at Macron admitted to psychiatric hospital
A 19-year-old student who threw an egg at French President Emmanuel Macron has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital after a medical exam, AP...
17:46
Opposition MP Armen Gevorgyan criticizes court decision to ban him from travelling to Strasbourg for PACE session
Opposition lawmaker Armen Gevorgyan, who is a member of the Armenian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE),...
16:56
Armenian soldier wounded in Azerbaijani shooting in Gegharkunik border section
An Armenian serviceman sustained a gunshot injury in the arm as the Azerbaijani troops opened fire at the military positions in the Gegharkunik...
16:33
Faces of 3 Egyptian mummies reconstructed with genetic data for first time
The faces of three ancient Egyptian men who lived up to 2,797 years ago have been reconstructed using genetic data extracted from their...
16:22
Agreements on Nagorno-Karabakh help establish stability, Russia's Lavrov says
The agreements ending military activities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which were reached by the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan...
16:12
Opposition MP: Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots Cathedral to be named Ghazanchi in PACE resolution
The Armenian authorities keep losing on the diplomatic front, Lilit Galstyan, a lawmaker from the opposition Armenia bloc, said in a Facebook...
15:06
State Department spokesman tests positive for Covid-19
State Department spokesman Ned Price has tested positive for Covid-19 after participating in the UN General Assembly last week, CNN...
14:51
Artsakh ombudsman publishes updated version of report on civilian killings by Azerbaijani forces
Human Rights Ombudsman of the Artsakh Republic Gegham Stepanyan on Monday published an updated version of the report on the cases of the killing...
14:24
It is time to sanction Azerbaijan until Aliyev returns the last Armenian POW – The National Interest
By Michael Rubin, The National Interest One year ago today, the Azerbaijani army, backed by Turkish Special Forces and Syrian jihadis...
14:08
Madame Tussauds brings all six James Bond stars together, in wax
To mark the return of James Bond in the film "No Time to Die" starring Daniel Craig, Madame Tussauds has gathered waxes of the six...
13:56
Viva-MTS partners with Microsoft to launch the Azure Stack cloud platform in Armenia
Viva-MTS, the leading telecommunications operator in Armenia implemented the commercial launch the Azure Stack cloud platform. This is not only...
13:38
Minsk Group Co-Chairs met with State Department officials
US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs Dereck Hogan and National Security Council Senior Director for Europe...
13:16
Evgeny Kissin to perform a new programme for the Armenian audience
Virtuoso pianist Evgeny Kissin will perform a solo concert in Yerevan within the framework of the 22nd "Yerevan Perspectives"...
12:57
Georgian ex-president says he will fly home despite jail threat
Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, late on Monday announced plans to fly home on the day local elections are held this week...
12:37
PACE resolution contains reference to the concept of demilitarized border zone proposed by the Ombudsman
The PACE resolution that was adopted yesterday includes the proposal of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia to create a demilitarized zone...
12:04
Armenia records 772 new Covid-19 cases on Sept. 28
Armenia has confirmed 772 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 259,779 as of 11 a.m. Monday, September 27, the...
11:50
Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh conducted an objective control of the situation using the Orlan-10 UAV
Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conducted an objective control of the situation in the area of responsibility using Orlan-10...
11:32
September 28 is International Day for universal access to information
September 28. "Freedom of information is the key to security, corruption–free governance, and the well-being of the people. Freedom...
11:15
UN Secretary-General welcomes Minsk Group’s Statement on resumed direct engagement between Armenian, Azerbaijan FMs
The Secretary-General welcomes the statement by the Co‑Chairs of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group of...
20:29
UN to continue caring for families and people displaced from Artsakh
The UN in Armenia joins the country today in commemorating all who have lost their lives in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to the...
20:01
Armenian figure skaters qualified for the Olympics
International senior-level figure skating competition completed at German Oberstdorf for pair skating event, the National Olympic Committee...
19:51
Turkey deploys troops to Syria's Idlib for potential ground operation
The Turkish military has deployed more troops on the M4 highway south of northwestern Syria's opposition-held Idlib and is prepared for any...
19:03
Armenian film removed from festival program due to threats from Azerbaijanis
Armenian documentary "Unfinished Memories" directed by Armen Khachatryan (co-production Hayk Documentary Film Studio and Margins Media...
18:50
France will spare no effort to resume dialogue between the conflicting sides - Embassy
The French Embassy in Yerevan observed a minute's silence at 11am on Monday honoring the memory of the victims of the last year's bloody...
18:11
Minute's silence observed in Artsakh
A minute's silence was observed in Artsakh on September 27, at 11am, paying tribute to the victims of the 44-day war unleashed by Azerbaijan...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}