A Baku court has sentenced a member of the opposition Popular Front Party to six years in prison, over a year after he was denied asylum in Germany and deported.
Jafar Mirzayev was convicted of acquiring and storing large quantities of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, charges he and his party insist are fabricated and politically motivated.
The Prosecutor’s Office had recommended sentencing the activist to 7.5 years in prison.
Mirzayev has claimed he was being punished for sharing posts critical of the Azerbaijani authorities on social media, as well as for participating in protests related to political prisoners in Azerbaijan while he was in Germany.
He was arrested in Baku in January 2022 for allegedly possessing six grammes of illegal drugs just two months after being deported by Germany.
The activist has also claimed that he was tortured on the spot by the arresting police officers.
‘Let’s assume for a moment that drugs [were mine]. On what basis do they say that it was for the purpose of sale? All calls and messages have been investigated, there is no proof, it cannot be,’ Mirzayev said during the court hearings.
‘Why was there no search of our house? Because the police officers themselves planted the drugs.’
Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist Afgan Mukhtarli has said that more than 1,000 Azerbaijanis have been deported from Germany in the past few months as punishment for their political activity in Germany.
Six Azerbaijanis were arrested after being deported from Germany in the past two years — four of them have been charged with drug-related offences, which they deny.