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Chair of Azerbaijani democracy group given prison sentence following anti-government posts

20 September 2022
Ahmad Mammadli. Photo via Facebook.

Ahmad Mammadli, the chair of an Azerbaijani pro-democracy group, has been sentenced to 30 days in prison by a district court in Baku, following his alleged abduction by plain-clothes police officers. 

He was found guilty under Article 535.1, ‘intentionally disobeying the legal requirements of a police or military officer’. 

Speaking to OC Media, the Democracy 18 (D18) pro-democracy group, stated that Ahmad Mammadli was attacked by people in civilian clothes while walking in Baku on 20 September, and then taken to a nearby car with a state license plate. 

Both Mammadli and the D18 Movement have been openly critical of the Azerbaijani government following the recent attacks on Armenia by Azerbaijan. 

On 19 September, Mammadli posted, ‘Do not defend the monarch who oppresses you, takes away all your basic rights, and turns the country into a company.  The more you defend him, the more he crushes you.  Ilham Aliyev is a dictator with blood on his hands.’

Four days earlier, he had said that ‘Ilham Aliyev will definitely answer before the international courts… for the crimes he committed not only against the Azerbaijani people but also against the Armenian people. The first task of democratic Azerbaijan will be to punish those who make nations hostile to each other.’

Samir Sultanov, the secretary general of the D18 Movement, told OC Media that Ahmad Mammadli’s arrest is related to the political activity of either Ahmad himself or the D18 Movement.

I think it is because of the Movement’s call for peace during the recent military conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia and because Ahmad wrote on social networks that President Aliyev should be punished for what he did, Sultanov said.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs did not respond to OC Media’s request for information regarding the reasons for Mammadli’s detention and his whereabouts. 

Independent Azerbaijani lawyer Samad Rahimli agreed that Mammadli was given a prison sentence ‘for criticising the recent border clashes and Ilham Aliyev’. 

He added that such sentences called into question Azerbaijan’s claims that it would protect the rights of those living in territories regained in Nagorno-Karabakh. 

‘It is also a shame that those who claim civilized values cannot take an active and consistent position on this matter,’ he said.

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