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Azerbaijani Lawyer Disbarred For 'Ethics' Violations After Defending Activists

Azerbaijani lawyer Elchin Namazov

Azerbaijani lawyer Elchin Namazov

BAKU -- A lawyer who recently defended four opposition activists in a Baku court has been disbarred by the Azerbaijani Bar Association, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The bar association stated on September 16 that Elchin Namazov was being punished and banned from practicing law because he had broken "ethics rules for lawyers."

It added that the decision was based on a letter sent by Shahin Abdullayev, a judge in Baku's Nasimi district.

Abdullayev said Namazov had violated the ethics rules while speaking with the judge on August 27 during the trial of four opposition activists.

Namazov spoke out against the bar association's decision, saying "I defended a lot of political activists but didn't ever expect such a ruling to be made against me."

He told RFE/RL that the judge "misinterpreted a minor incident." Namazov said he will challenge the decision in court.

Lawyer Khalid Bagired was also recently disbarred by Azerbaijan's bar association for one year. The ban came shortly after he had also defended the rights of a group of opposition activists.