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Azerbaijan Jails Pro-Democracy Activist For 10 Years


Azerbaijan has sentenced a pro-democracy activist to 10 years in prison amid an ongoing crackdown on dissenting voices under President Ilham Aliyev's government.

A Baku court on October 25 found Qiyas Ibrahimov, a 21-year-old activist who belongs to the NIDA pro-democracy youth group, guilty of drug trafficking.

Amnesty International said the charges were a "shocking assault on freedom of expression."

Denis Krivosheyev, the group's deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, said in a October 26 statement that the verdict handed to Ibrahimov was "an absolute travesty of justice."

Ibrahimov and another activist, Bayram Mammadov, were arrested in May for painting antigovernment graffiti on a monument in the capital, Baku.

The monument was a tribute to late Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev, the father of the current president.

Human Rights Watch has called on authorities to "immediately free" the activists and investigate allegations that they were mistreated while in police custody.

Dozens of journalists and activists who have been jailed in recent years have said they were targeted for their criticism of authorities.

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service
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