A member of the Workers’ Table Trade Unions Confederation taking part in ongoing protests by delivery couriers has been arrested on drug charges, the third member of the group to be detained this month.
Aykhan Israfilov, who is also a member of the Democracy 1918 Movement, was detained on 11 August and remanded into four months of pre-trial detention.
The confederation’s chair, Afiadin Mammadov, also a member of Democracy 1918, was detained on 1 August on charges of disobeying police orders. Azerbaijani police detained another member of the confederation, Elvin Mustafayev, on drug charges on 4 August.
If convicted, Israfilov and Mustafayev could face between five to 12 years in prison.
The three labour activists were taking part in a series of demonstrations organised by delivery couriers. They were protesting a new traffic law.
The draft law, titled ‘On Traffic’, was adopted by the Azerbaijani Parliament last December, obliging drivers of scooters and motorcycles with an engine capacity of at least 50km/h to obtain a special category driver’s license.
Samir Sultanov, Democracy 1918’s general secretary, has said that Israfilov and Mammadov were arrested for their work promoting democracy and labour rights in Azerbaijan.
‘The wave of arrests in the country shows that the government is implementing harsh punishment measures for protecting workers’ rights and free speech’, Sultanov told OC Media.