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Azerbaijani Opposition Activists Go On Hunger Strike

Baku, 13 July 2004 (RFE/RL) -- An Azerbaijani political activist today said in a Baku court that he and six other opposition activists in detention have started a three-day hunger strike.

The announcement came from Iqbal Agazade, head of the Umid (Hope) Party. He and six others from various political parties are being detained for "provoking social unrest" after the last presidential election in October.

Agazade said he and the other detainees have no "normal conditions" to defend themselves and that the court is ignoring their evidence.

State prosecutor Nazir Bayramov told the court the defendants are using the hunger strike "to pursue their political goals."

The defendants include activists from the Musavat Party, the Umid Party, the Democratic Party, the Karabakh War Veterans Association, and the editor in chief of the opposition "Yeni Musavat" newspaper, Arif Hajili.

(RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service)