A Baku court has rejected an appeal by a former parliament candidate and social media activist for early release from his prison term.
Baxtiyar Haciyev (aka Bakhtiyar Hajiyev), 29, is a Harvard graduate and member of the Positive Change movement. He was arrested on March 4 ahead of a protest against the government that he was promoting through social media.
Haciyev was sentenced in mid-May to two years in prison for evading military service, a charge he rejects. He was eligible for parole because he has served one-third of his sentence.
Intiqam Aliyev, who heads a group seeking to defend Haciyev's rights, told RFE/RL that today's appeal was held behind closed doors despite his organization's demand for the hearing to be held in public.
An official in Baku's Qaradag district court told RFE/RL that Haciyev was given a negative assessment of his jail time by prison management, which led the court to rule that he is unrepentent.
International rights watchdogs have called on Azerbaijani authorities to release Haciyev and other jailed opposition activists.
Activist Cabbar Savalan was released on December 26 after being granted a presidential pardon.
Haciyev, who ran unsuccessfully for parliament in November 2010, had said previously that he will take his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if it is not resolved satisfactorily.
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