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Pro-Democracy Activist Rearrested In Azerbaijan After Amnesty Release

Azerbaijani activist Bayram Mammadov (file photo)
Azerbaijani activist Bayram Mammadov (file photo)

BAKU -- Bayram Mammadov of the Azerbaijani opposition NIDA youth movement has been rearrested two weeks following his release as part of a mass amnesty announced by President Ilham Aliyev.

His lawyer, Elchin Sadigov, said on April 2 that Mammadov was arrested on March 30 and sentenced to 30 days in jail by the Sabunchu District Court in Baku.

His father, Farman Mammadov, told the BBC that he was unsure of the exact charges against his son, but he was told he had a dispute with a police officer.

Mammadov, along with Giyas Ibrahimov, was arrested in May 2016 after painting "Happy Slaves' Day" on a monument in Baku to late President Heidar Aliyev, the father of the current president.

Both were sentenced to 10 years in prison on drug charges.

Both men said they were innocent of the drug charges, and Mammadov said he was tortured into confessing.

“Amnesty International believes that Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammadov are prisoners of conscience and that the drug charges against them were fabricated with the sole purpose of punishing them for their political activities,” the human rights group said in 2016.

On March 16, Ilham Aliyev pardoned more than 400 people who had been convicted of crimes in the country, including several members of the opposition considered to be political prisoners by international rights organizations.

Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov were included in the amnesty.

In an interview with the Turan news agency, a day before his latest arrest, the 23-year-old Mammadov said he planned to continue his political activism to press for human rights in the South Caucasus nation.

Ilham Aliyev, who has ruled the oil-producing ex-Soviet republic since shortly before his father's death in 2003, has shrugged off frequent criticism from rights groups and Western governments that say he has jailed foes and critics on false pretenses and abused power to crush dissent.

With reporting by OC Media, the BBC, and Turan

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