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Azerbaijani Anti-Referendum Activists Jailed


Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

BAKU -- Police arrested Azerbaijani opposition leader Fakhreddin Abbasli on January 22 as he was collecting signatures for his party’s registration in upcoming elections, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service reports.

The opposition party Musavat, of which Abbasli is deputy head, is organizing a protest of the March referendum overturning presidential term limits.

Opposition groups say the referendum will establish incumbent President Ilham Aliyev, now in his final term, as president for life.

Two members of the opposition Popular Front party were also collecting signatures for campaign registration when they were arrested January 21 and sentenced to two days detention for drug possession and resisting police.

Drug possession is becoming a common police charge against antireferendum campaigners, opposition parties say.
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