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Jailed Azerbaijani Opposition Activist On Hunger Strike Demanding Release

Saleh Rustamli (file photo)
Saleh Rustamli (file photo)

BAKU -- Saleh Rustamli, a representative of the opposition Popular Front Of Azerbaijan (AXCP) party, has been on hunger strike for more than 10 days to demand his release from detention.

Rustamli's relatives said on November 15 that they were allowed to meet him in a prison hospital, where they saw his state of health had dramatically worsened.

Rustamli, who has lived in Russia since 1998, was arrested in 2018 when he visited Azerbaijan. He was subsequently sentenced to more than seven years in prison after a court found him guilty of money laundering for the alleged transfer of $420,000 to a bank account connected to the AXCP.

Rustamli has rejected all of the charges against him, calling them politically motivated. He insists that, in all, he wired just $10,000 back home, and that it was to his relatives.

Rustamli's lawyer, Bahruz Bayramov, said on November 15 that his client has lost 10 kilograms and it is finding it difficult to move because of the effects of the hunger strike.

Representatives of the ombudsman's office visited Rustamli on November 14 and said that he had been placed under supervision due to his health condition.

Human rights groups in Azerbaijan have recognized him as a political prisoner. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has called on Azerbaijani government to immediately release Rustamli.

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