Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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Six Azerbaijani Oppositionists Jailed Over April Protest

The opposition protest in Baku on April 2The opposition protest in Baku on April 2
The opposition protest in Baku on April 2
The opposition protest in Baku on April 2
BAKU -- Six Azerbaijani opposition activists have been jailed for up to three years over an antigovernment protest in Baku four months ago that was broken up by police, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.
The six have received prison terms ranging from 11/2 to three years on charges of "organizing actions resulting in the violation of public order and resisting and using force against government officials." 
Zulfuqar Eyvazli and Babak Hasanov were jailed for 18 months; Sahib Karimov and Elshan Hasanov for two years; Elnur Israfilov for 2 1/2 years; and Arif Alishli for three years.
Dozens of activists were detained as they tried to stage the April 2 protest, which was organized by the opposition Public Chamber.
The trial of eight other protest participants is still going on. All reject the charges against them as politically motivated.
An RFE/RL correspondent reported from the court room on August 25 that the defendants' relatives sang the Azerbaijani anthem to protest the verdict.
Over 200 people outside the court chanted "Freedom!" and -- referring to President Ilham Aliyev -- "Ilham, resign!" They tried to block the road in front of the court, but were prevented by police. 
Arif Alishli told the court on August 24 the protesters were arrested while bribe-takers remain at large.
"President Aliyev stated that people should fight corruption. I chanted the slogan 'No to corruption!' at the protest and wanted to help the president. Our arrest means the president was not sincere in his statement, I was deceived," Alishli said.
Zulfuqar Eyvazli testified on August 24 that police told him he would be released if he resigned from the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) of which he is a member.
"I am ready to serve a 20-year jail term, but would never act against my companions," he said.
APFP Chairman Ali Karimli told RFE/RL the court decision proves once again there are no independent courts in Azerbaijan:
"The courts have become punishment tools of the executive branch. The courts carry out orders from the government and function as the authoritarian regime's repressive machine. I have followed the trial closely. The trial did not prove the guilt of any of the six activists. The regime has decided to intimidate and punish them," Karimli said.
Yaver Huseynli, a lawyer representing Karimli's advisor Sahib Karimov, told RFE/RL he is not surprised by the court decision:
"We were expecting the unsubstantiated criminal case to end in an unfair ruling. It was a case conducted purely on a political order. I don't see anything surprising here. I didn't even ask the court for acquittal because I knew the court would never do that."

Read in Azeri here
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Comment Sorting
by: Justin from: Columbus, Ohio
August 25, 2011 18:43
At least George Soros’ Open Society Foundations have improved prison conditions in Azerbaijan before they give these protestors funding for their actions that land them in jail!
In Response

by: Ali Baba from: Sorostan
August 26, 2011 12:30
Dear Justin, Georgie boy Soros could have saved the millions of plundered $$$ he spent on improving conditions in azeri jails-he should have locked the bloody protesters in a room with president allahtan ali baba ilhan.If that wont help then he should resort to the final solution-putting them in a room with the first lady of ilhan,or preferrably with his whole male harem.,with your PETA filming the happenings for its new xxx channel.Who should we `thank you` for the soroses of this world??? Cheers for wesrern de-mock-racy and those bloody easterners that wont accept it so easily.
In Response

by: Alias
August 26, 2011 16:06
don't worry justin, i have no idea what ali baba down there is talking about either...but you did ask a good question. whether or not the foundations are involved in the protests, soros has been active in restructuring the azerbaijan government. he is trying his hardest to get finance minister samir sharifov appointed to the prime minister position which is troubling considering sharifov has a history of abusing his high positions for personal gain. soros just likes to have puppets in places like azerbaijan who are rich in oil...