Police Prevent “Illegal” Conference of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Azeri Capital

Excerpt from report by Azerbaijani Public TV (ITV) on 24 December

[Presenter] Jehovah’s Witnesses attempted to hold an illegal conference in [Baku’s] Xatai district today. The conference was prevented, as it was illegal, the district police said.

[Correspondent over video of a three-storey building] Jehovah’s Witnesses, who came to Azerbaijan in 1995, have been operating illegally for a long period. The Azerbaijani branch of the sect is headed by a Dutch national [name withheld].

Azerbaijan’s religious law bans foreigners and those without citizenship from engaging in religious activity in the country. Some reports say that the work of the Azerbaijani branch [of Jehovah’s Witnesses] is being supervised by the sect’s coordinator in the central Caucasus [name withheld] who is an Armenian.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Theologically, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult of Christianity. The oppressive organization does not represent historical, Biblical Christianity in any way.

Sociologically, it is a destructive cult whose false teachings frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths.

In order to be able to support its unbiblical doctrines, the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization has created it’s own version of the Bible. The so-called “New World Translation” is rejected by all Christian denominations.

Members of the sect hold conferences in third countries on a regular basis. They are trying to attract people to the sect.

Jehovah’s Witnesses attempted to hold such a conference in Baku. Some foreign citizens had also come to attend the conference.

As the conference was illegal, the Xatai district police prevented it.

The Xatai police said that the activities of the sect prepared the ground for provocative and sabotage acts in Azerbaijan. The discovery of some unfamiliar equipment during the search also proved this, the police said.

[An unidentified police officer shown speaking to reporters] The equipment found on the lower floor is for keeping contact with foreign states and for propagating foreign intelligence [as heard]. An investigation is under way. It has been reported by the leadership as well [as heard].

[Correspondent] The State Committee for Work with Religious Structures says that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been blatantly violating the law of late. They attract minors by deceiving vulnerable parents.

[Passage omitted: an unidentified employee of the state committee says that the conference Jehovah’s Witnesses were planning to hold in Baku was illegal; several young boys in the conference hall say they will not serve in the army]

[Video showed police and a cameraman entering a conference hall, which is full of people; a police officer detaining a man and taking him out of the hall; unspecified equipment]

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday December 27, 2006.
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