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, Compass Direct News reports. Judge Tahira Asadova of Baku's Administrative Economic Court on April 25 ordered the Greater Grace Church to be "liquidated" after the State Committee on Work with Religious Organizations (SCWRO) filed suit against it for failing to register. The liquidation rendered all activities of the church illegal. The church appealed the decision on May 24 and is waiting for another ruling, scheduled for July 17, from a judge at the Baku Court of Appeals. "If the court upholds the decision, we will have no right to assemble," said Mechti Suleymanov, an elder at the church. "If we continue to meet, then they will come and start harassing us." The Greater Grace Church registered with the Justice Ministry in 1993 and gave copies of its registration papers to the SCWRO. According to Forum 18 News, the committee never sent the church a request to re-file a registration with the committee. Church leaders also said the committee informed them of the need to register only after a committee-set deadline had already passed.