Two independent United Nations experts have expressed serious concern over the charges brought against three human rights activists in the aftermath of the 2013 presidential election in Azerbaijan.
UN special rapporteurs Maina Kiai and Margaret Sekaggya said in a statement on May 9 that the rights defenders "are being prosecuted in retaliation for their legitimate work in documenting alleged widespread irregularities and human rights violations around the presidential election."
Anar Mammadli, the chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center; the center's executive director, Basir Suleymanli; and the director of the Union for International Cooperation of Volunteers, Elnur Mammadov, are accused of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, and using their office to falsify election results.
They face up to 12 years in jail.
Mammadli has been in pretrial detention since December.
The experts urged Azerbaijani authorities to drop the charges and immediately release Mammadli.