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Azerbaijani Activist Blogger Appeals Drug Sentence

An Azerbaijani court will hear the appeal on August 20 of a young blogger given a five-year prison sentence in a case his supporters say is politically motivated.

Omar Mammadov, 19, was detained by police in January and charged with possessing illegal drugs.

He was kept in detention and in July was given a five-year sentence.

Mammadov is a co-founder of the Axin (The Current) youth movement and an active member of the Civic Solidarity Party (VHP).

Mammadov is known for harshly criticizing and mocking Azerbaijani authorities in his blog posts.

He is one of several rights activists and opposition bloggers who have been arrested for drug possession in recent years.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on August 19 condemned the prosecution of rights activists in Azerbaijan, saying the "criminalization of rights activists must stop."