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Police arrest two members of the band Bulistan at a youth opposition rally in Baku on March 17.
BAKU -- The Baku appeals court has upheld the jail sentences for the front man of the popular band Bulistan and two others.

Camal Ali was arrested on March 17 along with his band's bass player, Natiq Kamilov, after he insulted President Ilham Aliyev's late mother during a performance at an opposition youth rally.

The event's organizer, Etibar Salmanli, was also arrested.

The three were later sentenced to up to 10 days in jail on charges of hooliganism.

During the hearing on March 21, Ali reiterated claims that he was subjected to extreme violence and denied access to his lawyer for four days while in police custody.

"They beat me and I am sure they will do the same later on. They were beating the souls of my feet with truncheons," he said.

Salmanli and Kamilov also said they were beaten in jail and forced to sign papers that used profanity against Aliyev.
Syarhey Kavalenka during a court appearance in Vitsebsk in February
MINSK -- Belarusian prison authorities have started connecting an intravenous feeding system to jailed opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka, trying to forcibly end his hunger strike.

His wife, Alena Kavalenka, who visited him on March 21, told RFE/RL that her husband weighs some 50 kilograms and is very weak.

Kavalenka, 37, was sentenced in the eastern city of Vitsebsk in February to 25 months for an alleged parole violation.

He was later transferred to a prison hospital in Minsk due to poor health.

Kavalenka was detained in December for allegedly violating the terms of his parole for an earlier conviction on charges of "illegally displaying the banned Belarusian national flag."

He began his hunger strike shortly after his detention.

Authorities force-fed him in January, but he resumed the protest last month.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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