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More Opposition Activists Charged Over Baku Rally

BAKU -- More opposition activists in Azerbaijan have been charged in connection with an antigovernment rally that was dispersed by riot police earlier this month, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

An order was issued for five activists to be held in detention for two months on Saturday April 9.

They are Ahad Mammadli, Ulvi Quliyev, Babek Hasanov from the opposition Musavat party, and Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) activists Elshan Hasanov and Sahib Karimov, who is an adviser to APFP chairman Ali Karimli.

The five, along with three others detained during the April 2 protest, were charged with organizing "actions resulting in the violation of public order and resisting and using force against government officials."

The charges can carry a fine or a prison term of up to three years.

Mammadli's lawyer, Yalchin Imanov, told RFE/RL he submitted a petition alleging his client had been beaten while in detention.

The opposition's umbrella organization, the Public Chamber, plans to hold another protest on April 17.

Meanwhile, Ali Ahmadov, executive secretary of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party (YAP), in an interview on the party website, criticized western diplomats for meeting opposition leaders at Musavat headquarters on April 8.

Ahmadov said the diplomats' mission is to represent their countries, not to conduct secret meetings.

Read more in Azeri here