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(Forum 18) – Adventist leaders have told Forum 18 News Service that their community in Nakhichevan (Naxçivan), an enclave between Armenia , Turkey and Iran , has been “crushed,” and the police have banned them from meeting. Baha’is have told Forum 18 that “we can’t do anything in Nakhichevan,” and the imprisonment of one Baha’I and up to ten Muslim imams has been reported. Imam Ilgar Ibrahimoglu told Forum 18 that “in Nakhichevan officials are more open about persecution than elsewhere.”

This opinion was backed by Professor Ali Abasov, president of the Azerbaijani branch of the International Religious Liberty Association, who said that “there is no democracy, no free media and no human rights in Nakhichevan.” Asked by Forum 18 why, he responded with a grim laugh:

“The authorities don’t want it,” insisting that the Nakhichevan authorities are doing what the authorities in the rest of Azerbaijan would like to do. The authorities have repeatedly denied any religious persecution and have declined to talk to Forum 18.