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Pastor jailed for two years

On May 20, 2007, Pastor Zaur Balaev was arrested for “conducting an illegal religious meeting” in his home village in Aliabad, Azerbaijan. In August, he was sentenced to two years in prison under Article 315, Part 1, for allegedly violently resisting the police during a raid. The authorities first claimed that Pastor Balaev released a dog on police, but have since claimed he attacked five policemen and damaged a car door.

During the trial, some witnesses reported that police had pressured them into testifying against Pastor Balaev.

Zaur Balaev is 44 years old and married to Nunuka. They have one son (20) and one daughter (15). Zaur became a Christian in 1992. He was the first Christian in Aliabad, a village in northwestern Azerbaijan, and he became the first pastor in the Zaqatala region. He now leads a small church with about 40 members aged between 20 and 35.

Open Doors, Forum 18, Prisoner Alert

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