Azerbaijan: Is Confiscating Religious Literature Censorship?


Date:  2012-10-25

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

AZERBAIJAN (ANS) -- Azerbaijani customs and secret police officers spent more than six hours searching a family minibus returning from Russia in late September, seizing religious literature they found hidden and confiscating the van and the driver's passport, members of the Byakov family told Forum 18 News Service.

Ironic border sign

According a story by Felix Corley, one copy of each book and magazine has been sent to the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations in Baku for "religious expert analysis".

"Azerbaijan bans the import of religious literature without State Committee permission," said Corley.

After five months, a car confiscated from other Baptists after religious literature was found in it has been returned, but a criminal case against the three for "illegal" religious literature distribution continues.

"Claiming that censorship has been abolished in Azerbaijan, Prosecutor Zahid Valiyev denied to Forum 18 that confiscating religious literature represents censorship," added Corley.

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