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Azerbaijani Activist Faces Illegal Weapons Charge

Azerbaijani activist Rashad Hasanov
BAKU -- A court in Baku has ordered that a member of the Nida citizens' movement be held for up to three-months in pretrial detention.

Rashad Hasanov and an employee of the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute, Ruslan Asad, were detained on March 14.

Asad was later released. Hasanov's lawyer, Asabali Mustafayev, told RFE/RL on March 15 that his client is facing charges of illegal weapons possession and faces up to eight years in prison if found guilty.

Three other Nida activists were arrested for alleged possession of illegal drugs and weapons before a March 10 protest over the noncombat deaths of conscripts in the Azerbaijani army.

Police violently dispersed the demonstration. The Nida organization has described the detentions of Hasanov and its other activists as being politically motivated.