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HRW Calls For Fair Trial In Azerbaijan

Yeni Fikir deputy head Said Nuri (file photo) (AFP) PRAGUE, March 31, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Human Rights Watch has called on the Azerbaijani government to ensure a fair trial for three opposition youth activists arrested before the November 2005 parliamentary election.

The trial against Ruslan Basirli, leader of the Yeni Fikir (New Thinking) group and his two deputies, Said Nuri and Ramin Tagiev, opens today in Baku.

All three defendants are charged with attempting forcefully to overthrow the government and engaging in illegal business activities.

Holly Cartner, executive director of HRW for Europe and Central Asia, said the context and timing of their arrests suggest the case is politically motivated.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union, and others declared the November 2005 election fell well short of international standards.

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