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Azerbaijanis Jailed Over Rally For Man Who Immolated Himself In Protest

Mourners carry an Azerbaijani flag and a portrait of Zaur Ahmadov, who died four days after he lit himself on fire in Baku to protest perceived mistreatment.
BAKU -- Six Azerbaijani activists have been sentenced to jail and others fined after they tried to hold a rally in Baku in support of a war veteran who died staging his own protest.

One activist was sentenced to 15 days in jail on December 29, while five activists were sentenced to prison terms of between 15 and 18 days on December 30 for violating the law on public gatherings.

Sixteen other activists were fined between 350 and 500 manats ($445-$637) in the aftermath of the abortive protest.

The attempted demonstration came after the funeral on December 29 of Zaur Hasanov, a 42-year-old veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh war in the early 1990s who lit himself on fire in front of a government building in Baku.

Hasanov was protesting perceived injustices at the hands of a senior pro-government official whom he accused of improperly expropriating and destroying his restaurant.