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Azerbaijani Watchdog Chief And Associates Go On Trial

The head of an election watchdog in Azerbaijan, Anar Mammadli and his two associates went on trial on April 28.

Mammadli, the chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center, the center's executive director Basir (read: Basheer)Suleymanli and the director of the Union for International Cooperation of Volunteers, Elnur Mammadov, are accused of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, and using their office to falsify election results.

Mammadli's organization monitored elections in Azerbaijan last autumn and exposed widespread irregularities and fraud during balloting and vote counting.

Mammadli's supporters say the charges against him and his associates are politically motivated.

The OSCE, the EU and U.S. officials have expressed concerns over Mammadli's arrest in December.

Amnesty International has called Mammadli a prisoner of conscience.