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Azerbaijani Opposition Party Says Deputy Chief Detained

Gozal Bayramli was detained as she returned from Georgia.

BAKU -- Azerbaijan's opposition Popular Front Party (AXCP) says its deputy chief has been detained.

AXCP Chairman Ali Kerimli said late on May 25 that his deputy, Gozal Bayramli, had been detained at a border checkpoint when she was returning to Azerbaijan from Georgia.

Kerimli said that Bayramli had called him and told him that she was being detained. He said she told him something had been planted in her bag before Azerbaijani police detained her.

Azerbaijani authorities have not commented on the situation.

Critics of longtime President Ilham Aliyev's government say authorities of the oil-rich former Soviet republic frequently seek to silence dissent by jailing reporters, human rights activists, and civil-society advocates without grounds.

Dozens of the AXCP members have been arrested and some imprisoned in the last several years on what their supporters have called trumped-up charges.