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Azerbaijani opposition member arrested for disobeying police

3 February 2023
Orkhan Bakhishli. Image via Facebook.

A member of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party has been arrested on charges of disobeying police.

Orkhan Bakhishli was arrested on Thursday and sentenced later that day to 30 days of administrative arrest by the Khatai District Court in Baku.

Bakhishli’s mother, Kamala Rahimli, told RFE/RL that a police officer had taken photos of Bakhishli the day before, while he was giving an interview to a journalist outside the trial of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev.

Hajiyev was arrested on 9 December on charges of hooliganism and has been on hunger strike for the past 25 days.

Ali Karimli, the chair of the Popular Front Party, said that three other members of his party were detained in the last 10 days. Karimli condemned the arrests and accused the Azerbaijani government of using administrative detention as a tool of repression against political activists.

‘[We] should not leave people on the front lines of the fight against evil alone. We must [firmly] demand the freedom of Orkhan Bakhishli, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, and all political prisoners,’ Karimli wrote on Facebook.

Bakhishli was previously sentenced to six years in prison for drug possession and trafficking in 2018, but was later given a shorter sentence of three years after the court dropped the trafficking charges.

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The Popular Front Party and Bakhishli, who was 22 at the time, claimed that he was arrested for delivering a speech critical of the government at the gravesite of Elmar Huseynov, an opposition journalist shot dead in 2005.

He was among the 625 Azerbaijani prisoners pardoned by President Ilham Aliyev in the March 2021 amnesty.

Read in Armenian on CivilNet