Azerbaijan: Waiting for state approval to sell religious books

An official of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations - which operates Azerbaijan's harsh religious censorship system - admitted in mid-April that about 100 shops wishing to sell religious books are still waiting for the necessary licences. Only 16 such licences have been issued since the system's introduction in 2009. Forum 18 News Service notes that selling religious books without a licence risks a maximum punishment for a first offence of two years' imprisonment. Baku's Metro banned the sale of religious books in early April. One religious publisher told Forum 18 that after the compulsory licensing system was introduced, several bookshops returned books as they were too afraid to sell them without a licence. Jehovah's Witnesses have failed in about 15 legal cases challenging State Committee religious censorship decisions. Meanwhile, the latest hearing in the State Committee suit to liquidate Baku's Greater Grace Protestant Church - due today (25 April) - was again postponed at the Church's request, the court told Forum 18.

Read the original article at Forum 18 News Service  2012-04-26 »

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