Azeri opposition blogger arrested
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Deutsch: Aserbaidschan: Oppositioneller Blogger verhaftet
A new arrest made by the Azeri authorities raise concerns over the freedom of speech in Azerbaijan ahead of the next year's general elections.
The well-known blogger and opposition activist Zaur Gurbanli was arrested from his home on 29 September 2012 by several people who identified themselves as members of the Interior Ministry’s organized crime department. After arresting him, the police took him with them when they searched the offices of the Positive Change Youth Movement (N!DA) and seized about several thousand copies of printed N!DA campaign materials showing Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s silhouette and the words "I will go in 2013 if you join the N!DA"
There was no information on the criminal charges that Gubarnli was accused of until 1 October 2012 when the press office of the Interior Ministry announced that "he had been placed in administrative detention for 15 days pending trial on a charge of refusing to cooperate with a police investigation into drug trafficking." But it appears that no charges have been brought with regards to these allegations.
Instead, Gurbanli was sentenced in a closed hearing by a Regional Court to 15 days administrative detention for deliberately resisting to obey lawful demands of on-duty police officers.
Gurbanli is well known for his blog articles against the current regime. In a recent blog entry, he wrote that it was "ridiculous" and "shameful" that a school anthology of Azerbaijani literature had included a poem by Leyla Alieva, the president’s daughter.
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Youth Activist Zaur Gurbanli (9.10.2012)
Leaflet that was confiscated