Baku denies arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses leaders

Baku, Azerbaijan - Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of Azerbaijan Idayat Orudzhev refuted media reports that the Jehovah's Witnesses community has been shut down and its leaders arrested.

"There have been no arrests, and the organization is not closed down. The Jehovah's Witnesses community has undergone state registration, and should its closure be discussed, the opinion of our committee would be required, and we would appeal in court," he said in an interview with Interfax.

No communities, no religious organizations have been closed down in Azerbaijan in the five months he has headed the committee, he said.

Earlier some Azeri media reported that leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses community, including British, Dutch, Russian and Georgian nationals had been detained in Baku on suspicion of anti-state activity.