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Police In Azerbaijan Close Disputed Mosque

9 July 2004 -- Police in Azerbaijan today broke up prayers outside a historic mosque in the capital Baku and proclaimed the building "closed for repairs."

Two people were reported beaten in the confrontation.

Today's events appeared to be the culmination of tensions at the Djuma mosque between worshippers and the government.

Last month, police first raided the mosque and evicted worshippers after courts ordered that the building be turned back to the state.

Worshippers as well as human rights groups say the Djuma mosque is being targeted because its imam, Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, is a leading human rights activist and critic of the government.