Posted by: becketfund | July 16, 2007

Azerbaijan: Baptist Pastor Set for July 20 Trial

Forum 18 reports that Zaur Balaev, a Baptist pastor from Aliabad in northern Azerbaijan, will be tried on July 20th for “application of violence [and] resistance with application of violence” in relation to an incident on May 20 when police raided a church service where Balaev was present. Officers claim that Balaev attacked five policemen and set a dog onto them before damaging a police car, though the pastor and other village residents deny the charges. The indictment also alleges that Balaev conducts “illegal meetings…without state registration.” If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.

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