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Amnesty Calls For Freeing Of Azeri Activist

Zaur Qurbanli was arrested on September 29.
Zaur Qurbanli was arrested on September 29.
Amnesty International is calling for Azerbaijan to release a young activist.

Zaur Qurbanli was detained by a group of plainclothes men in the capital, Baku, on September 29.

Qurbanli is the chair of Nida, an opposition youth movement that also campaigns for democracy and human rights.

Qurbanli was involved in the “Sing for Democracy” campaign that persuaded this year’s Eurovision winner, Loreen, to condemn rights abuses in Azerbaijan.

An Interior Ministry official told RFE/RL that Qurbanli is suspected of involvement in illegal drugs operations, saying Qurbanli resisted arrest and that "illegal documents and objects" were found in his office.

John Dalhuisen, director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International, said, "Azerbaijani opposition activists are routinely detained on the pretext of resisting police, giving the authorities 15 days to try to build a case against them."

Before the Interior Ministry statement, Qurbanli's relatives had complained to RFE/RL that they had not received any explanation about Qurbanli's arrest or his whereabouts since he was detained.
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