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Four Azerbaijani Opposition Activists Jailed Over April Protest

Riot police break up the protest in Baku on April 2. (file photo)
BAKU -- Four Azerbaijani opposition activists have been jailed for up to three years for taking part in an antigovernment protest six months ago that was broken up by police, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The four were the last of a group of 14 activists to be sentenced in connection with the April 2 protest. All but one were jailed, with sentences ranging from 1 1/2 to three years.

Baku's Nasimi district court today sentenced Ahad Mammadli and Ulvi Quliyev of the opposition Musavat party to three years in jail; Elnur Majidli of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party to two years in jail, and Musavat member Rufat Hajibeyli to 1 1/2 years in jail after they were convicted of attempting to violate public order and resisting government officials.

After the trial ended, dozens of opposition supporters chanted slogans such as "Freedom!" and "Resignation!" in front of the court building.

Police dispersed the protesters, detaining four opposition supporters who were later released.

Majidli's father, Arzuman, told RFE/RL that such verdicts will not frighten the Azerbaijani youth.

"We denounce the sentence. But we are not frightened by this and are not discouraged. Such verdicts aim at intimidating the Azerbaijani youth and society," he said.

Mammadli's lawyer, Yalchin Imanov, told RFE/RL he is confident justice will prevail at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

"I consider the verdict unfair and illegal," he said. "We’ll appeal the sentence and go to the European Court [of Human Rights]."

Read more in Azeri here