Azerbaijan Pastor Receives "Corrective Labor" Sentence

Monday, February 23, 2009 | Tag Cloud

By Worthy News International Correspondent David Haggith

BAKU/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) -- A well-known Baptist pastor in Azerbaijan was weighing his legal options Monday, February 23, after receiving a two-year "corrective labor" sentence for allegedly possessing an "illegal" weapon,  trial observers said.

Hamid Shabanov claimed the weapon found in his home in  Aliabad village, in north-western Zakatala District, was planted by Azerbaijan police because of his church activities.

Observers of the trial said that despite the labor sentence, they did not expect the pastor would be detained for a long time or sentenced to a working camp. "

As he was in pre-trial detention or house arrest for just over seven months, he has 27 days more to serve from February 11," said well-informed advocacy group Forum 18 in a statement to Worthy News.

"The written verdict has not been released, however Forum 18 understands that Shabanov” who was free Monday, February 23, “has been sentenced to pay 20 per cent of his salary for the remaining 27 days of his [prison] sentence."

It was not immediately clear how he would be able to pay the fine as he is without a paid job because of pressure from authorities, Christians said.

APPEAL LAUNCHED

Shabanov and his lawyer said they are appealing the verdict, if necessary, all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The pastor will have a criminal record if the verdict is not overturned.

There has also been concern about the reported arrest of one of Shabanov's relatives, Teyyub Eyvazov, who police claim possessed drugs. Baptists said it appeared another attempt by authorities to pressure them, although Eyvazov is not a Christian.

Shabanov said in published remarks he also fears he will not receive back many Christian books police allegedly confiscated during a recent raid on his house. “They won't return them and won't explain why." Other groups, including Jehovah's Witnesses, have also been targeted.

Despite the setbacks, the head of Azerbaijan's Baptist Union, Ilya Zenchenko, said he was pleased that the pastor did not receive the three-year prison sentence that was originally expected.  And, "when they arrested first one pastor then another, they thought the church would cease to exist, but they were wrong. Our faith has helped us win," Zenchenko said.

UNDER PRESSURE

President Ilham Aliyev's has come under pressure to allow more religious freedom and democracy in the country, at a time when it is seeking closer ties with the West and talking about major gas deals.

Despite his promises of reforms, opposition groups have questioned the presidential democratic credentials since police broke up anti-government demonstrations in Baku in the run-up to and following November 2005 parliamentary elections.

Aliyev's New Azerbaijan Party won well over half of the seats. However election monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe said the vote "had fallen a long way short" of international standards. (With reporting by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos in Budapest).

Copyright 1999-2018 Worthy News. All rights reserved.
Fair Use Notice:This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

2 thoughts on “Azerbaijan Pastor Receives "Corrective Labor" Sentence”

  1. Oh How The Cries Of God's Saints Rise To His Throne

    "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
    Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
    Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
    Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
    And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
    They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
    (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
    And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
    God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Hebrews 11:32-40

    During These Times Of The Wrath Of Sinner Men

    "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
    And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
    And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
    Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
    And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
    And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
    Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
    They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
    For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Revelation 7:9-17

    But God Still Forgives And Heals Sinners

    "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." Luke 23:34

    If We Would But Believe

    "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" John 11:25

    On HIM

    "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6

    Hallelujah!

Leave a Comment