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Azerbaijani Youth Activist Jailed For One Month

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev
An Azerbaijani youth activist involved in organizing an antigovernment campaign on the Internet has been ordered detained for one month after being questioned about his Facebook activity, his lawyer told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service.

Seadet Seyidli, a lawyer for Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, told RFE/RL that a court in the city of Ganja made the ruling today. He said Hajiyev stated in court he was tortured in police custody.

Fellow youth activist Gunel Yusifli says Hajiyev met his friends earlier in the day in Ganja. Hajiyev told them he was summoned by local police in the morning and was questioned about the views he had posted on Facebook. Yusifli said Hajiyev contacted her this afternoon saying he was again called to the police.

Hajiyev, 29, a Harvard graduate and a former parliament candidate, is one of the organizers of the March 11 Facebook campaign calling for a day of protest against the government.

Hajiyev today posted on his Facebook page the following appeal to police on behalf of "a group of Azerbaijani youth:"

"We learned from the developments in the Arab world that when people demand freedom, they achieve it. We call on you to stand on the right side of history, not to resort to force against your own citizens, to build a fair, happy, and free society in Azerbaijan together with ordinary people."

Hajiyev was detained earlier this year and charged with evading military service. He and other activists say the criminal case against him is politically motivated.