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Azerbaijani Opposition Leader's Detention Extended

Azerbaijani oppositionist Tofiq Yaqublu
Azerbaijani oppositionist Tofiq Yaqublu
BAKU -- A court in Baku has extended the pretrial detention of Tofiq Yaqublu, the deputy head of the opposition Musavat party.

Yaqublu's lawyer, Nemat Karimli told RFE/RL that Yaqublu was handed almost four additional months in jail during closed court hearings on August 13.

Yaqublu and the chairman of the Republican Alternative (REAL) movement, Ilqar Mammadov, were arrested in February and charged with helping organize riots in the town of Ismayilli, northwest of the capital Baku.

On January 23, thousands of Ismayilli residents demanded the resignation of the district's governor, setting fire to his residence, cars, and a local motel.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters. Yaqublu and Mammadov, arriving in Ismayilli the following day, called for civil disobedience.

Amnesty International has called the charges against Yaqublu and Mammadov "politically motivated".

With reporting by AFP

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