Yeni Fikir members at March 31 hearing (Turan)
PRAGUE, April 5, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The trial of three Azerbaijani opposition youth activists accused of plotting against the government is due to open today in Baku.
Judge Tofiq Pasayev ruled on March 31 that the hearings should be held behind closed doors, officially to protect the safety of witnesses.
The defendants -- Ruslan Basirli, Said Nuriyev, and Ramin Tagiyev -- belong to Yeni Fikir (New Thinking), a youth movement close to the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (AXCP).
They were arrested in the run-up to the November 2005 legislative polls and charged with receiving foreign funds to overthrow the government. All three deny the accusations.
Azerbaijan's "Ekho" daily today reported that Basirli and Tagiyev have started a hunger strike to protest their trial.
A special webpage devoted to youth-oriented political movements around RFE/RL's broadcast region.