At least 20 police officers, including the local chief of police, took part in a raid on a Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Gyanja in Azerbaijan on 12 May 2012.
Searching for Foreigners and Children
During the raid, police first searched for foreigners. After finding none present, they began checking whether all the approximately 50 children present had written permission from both parents to be there.
Police found 14 of the children did not have written permission. Church members have said that the children and their parents were attending the church for the first time.
Officers questioned church members and their children for several hours. They then drew up an official record and warned those they questioned that prosecutions would follow, with fines, because children were present without proper written parental permission.
At least one congregation member has been fined without being tried by a court.
A harsh Religion Law was adopted by Azerbaijan in 2009 with new offenses and punishments that many in the international community say are vague and dangerous. There are limitations on conscientious objection, the distribution of literature, and the criticism of other religions.
Source: Forum 18 News Service
- Please pray that Christians in Azerbaijan will rely on the spirit of power given to them through Jesus, and that they will be bold and loving despite the difficulties they face (2 Timothy 1:7-12).
- Pray that God will enable Christian parents in Azerbaijan to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to Christ so that their children will be encouraged to walk closely with the Lord as they grow up (Deuteronomy 11:18-20).