AZERBAIJAN: More than 200 anti-government protesters arrested

March, according to Reuters.

Before a planned anti-government protest March 11, Harvard graduate Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, 29, who has been politically active on Facebook, was arrested for charges of evading military service. Jabbar Savalan, 20, a member of the opposition party, Popular Front’s youth wing, who was also active on Facebook, was arrested Feb. 5 on charges of drug possession. Both men are still in prison. 

“They are obviously in jail because of their political actions,” Masimov said. “There’s no question.” Other anti-government protesters and members of opposition groups have been charged with hooliganism, “behaving dishonorably,” and “using abusive words,” according to local news reports.

Azeri authorities meanwhile are attempting to combat anti-government sentiment in Azerbaijan by organizing pro-government rallies of their own. Last week, Ali Ahmadov, deputy chairman of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party, called on young Azeris to avoid the draw of “dirty forces,” meaning the opposition, who he said were betraying Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev during a crucial time for the country, according to Kavkazsky Uzel news service.

Azerbaijan is a primary supplier of oil to Europe and a vital transit route for U.S. troops headed to Afghanistan. Aliyev became president in 2003. His father, Heydar Aliyev, took power in 1993.

-- Haley Sweetland Edwards 

 

Photo: Azeri police arrest a protester. Credit: Turkhan Kerimov.


 

Azerbaijan
04/02/2011 11:39


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