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BAKU -- Additional charges have been brought against eight activists of the opposition NIDA youth movement in Azerbaijan.

Lawyers for the jailed young men told RFE/RL on September 13 that the new charges were organization of mass disorders and taking part in them.

The eight were arrested in March and April on charges of possessing illegal drugs and weapons after they took part in an antigovernment protest in Baku in March.

The activists deny any wrongdoing, saying the charges against them are politically motivated.

New York-based Human Rights Watch accused the Azerbaijani authorities last week of trying to silence dissent ahead of the October 9 presidential election.

In August, Amnesty International demanded the immediate release of the activists, saying the Azerbaijani government has a record of pressing false charges to silence dissent.
Giorgi Baratashvili (center) was dismissed as the general director of Georgia's national public broadcaster (file photo)
The general director of Georgia's national public broadcaster has been dismissed.

The Georgian Public Broadcaster's Supervising Council voted for Giorgi Baratashvili's dismissal on September 6 for failing to perform an internal development plan.

Dozens of Baratashvili’s supporters protested outside the company's building while the decision was being made. The protesters accused the Supervising Council of being affiliated with outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili

Baratashvili had run the company for nine months. In December, he replaced Giorgi Chanturia, whom Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition had harshly criticized for his alleged affiliation with Saakashvili.

Saakashvili's United National Movement lost to Ivanishvili's coalition in parliamentary elections last October.

The decision to fire Baratashvili was made less than two months before the October 27 presidential poll, where candidates of Saakashvili's party and Ivanishvili's coalition are expected to be major rivals.

Based on reporting by Apsny.ge and Interfax

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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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