BAKU -- An appeals court in the Azerbaijani city of Ganca has ruled to keep political activist Baxtiyar Haciyev in jail, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.
Haciyev (aka Bakhtiyar Hajiyev) was sentenced on May 18 to two years in prison for evading military service. His lawyers had asked that he be released on bail.
Haciyev told RFE/RL on July 6 that he had lost all hope in his country's judicial system after the court rulings against him.
"My hope remains only for the European Court [of Human Rights in Strasbourg] now," he said. "The [Azerbaijani] authorities should understand that it would be more useful to listen to such different-minded youth like me rather than arresting them."
Haciyev, 29, is a Harvard University graduate and member of the Azerbaijani youth movement Positive Change. He was arrested on March 4, one week before a scheduled protest he had been actively promoting on social media networks.
Haciyev ran unsuccessfully in the November 2010 parliamentary elections.
The ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party won an overwhelming majority in the elections, which international observers and monitoring groups said were marred by numerous procedural irregularities and which were adjudged to be neither free nor fair.
International human rights groups have called on Azerbaijani authorities to release Haciyev and other opposition activists who are in jail.
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