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Azerbaijan: Christians fined for attending prayer meeting

Gamid Shabanov and Mehman Agamemdov received the fine after a prayer meeting attended by 30 people was broken up by police in Aliabad, a village in the south of Azerbaijan.

All attendees were initially arrested but only the pastors were taken to court.

According to World Watch Monitor, the pair were fined and warned to stop holding religious meetings in their homes at the trial yesterday.

Religious meeting are illegal in private homes in Azerbaijan and only registered religious organisations can hold prayer meetings.

According to Open Doors International, "The government has a negative attitude towards any form of religious fanaticism.

"This also applies to the attitude towards Christians. Official checks are becoming increasingly strict. The government has become more active in controlling religion."

Christians make up just three per cent of the population of Azerbaijan with an estimated 280,000-450,000 living in the country.

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