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The Musavat Party celebrated its 100th anniversary this year
BAKU -- The offices of the Azerbaijani opposition Musavat Party were raided in Baku by police and investigators on April 26, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Musavat Party leader Isa Gambar told RFE/RL on April 26 that the police showed a court warrant for the search in connection with an unauthorized antigovernment rally by the opposition political bloc known as Ictimai Palata on April 2.

The court order said that documents belonging to Ictimai Palata were to be seized because they are needed for a criminal case against the movement for the unapproved rally.

The search of Musavat's offices lasted more than three hours.

Gambar said party members present during the raid gave documents related to Ictimai Palata to the police and investigators. But they told Gambar they were not satisfied and started searching for additional documents.

He said the police wanted to know "about meetings and decisions made by Ictimai Palata and its members."

Gambar described the raid as an attempt to put political pressure on the opposition movements in Azerbaijan.
Many Belarusian opposition activists have marked the Chornobyl anniversary
POLATSK -- Two Belarusian activists detained in the northern city of Polatsk on April 25 were sentenced to two days of jail on April 26, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Viktar Kalesnik and Alyaksandr Kalintsau were found guilty of using "vulgar words while talking loudly" in a public place.

Kalesnik told RFE/RL that he and Kalintsau were detained in a cafe in Polatsk on April 25. Kalesnik said the policemen who testified as witnesses at the trial were not there when they were arrested. He said their testimony was stumbling and controversial.

Kalesnik also said they learned that they were detained for using vulgar language in public when they were in the police car.

He said authorities detained him and Kalintsau and sentenced them to two days in jail in order to isolate them for the 25th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster.

On April 25, Polatsk authorities rejected a request by Kalesnik to hold a public gathering to mark the Chornobyl anniversary.

Kalesnik said officials decided to isolate the two activists with the jail sentences so they would not be able to organize an unsanctioned gathering.

Read more in Belarusian here

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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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