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Azerbaijani Opposition Rallies For Release Of Political Prisoners

Around 1,500 people rallied in Baku
Around 1,500 people rallied in Baku

Azerbaijani opposition activists and their supporters urged the government to release political prisoners and end repression at a rally in Baku.

Some 1,500 people attended the sanctioned demonstration organized by the opposition Musavat Party and held at Mahsul Stadium on the outskirts of the capital.

Musavat Party leader Isa Qambar said if President Ilham Aliyev does not free political prisoners "soon" the Musavat Party "will call for an international boycott of the European Games" to be held in Baku next summer.

Protesters also called for free elections to be held while chanting "freedom."

Azerbaijani officials on December 5 ordered that invesigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, an RFE/RL contributor, be held in pretrial detention for two months.

International rights groups and Western governments have expressed concern about Ismayilova's detention, calling it politically motivated.

Her case is the latest in a series of arrests and jailings of opposition activists and journalists.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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