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Azerbaijani Youth Activist Stuck In Detention After Appeal Fails

Youth activist Cabbar Savalan
An Azerbaijani appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling to keep opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) youth wing activist Cabbar Savalan in pretrial detention for two months, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

A group of APFP activists began singing the national anthem in protest when the ruling was announced by the court in the eastern city of Sumqayit on February 16.

APFP head Abulfaz Qurbanli told RFE/RL that police forced the young people to stop singing. No injuries were reported.

Interior Ministry official Orkhan Mansurzadeh told RFE/RL that police briefly detained several of the activists and Savalan's relatives for violating public order.

Savalan, 20, was detained in Sumqayit, located about 31 kilometers north of Baku, on February 5 in possession of what police said was 0.17 grams of drugs.

Local human rights defenders say Savalan was detained because of his political and social activities.