DEFENCE COMMITTEE CLAIMS ARREST OF YOUTH ACTIVIST WAS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

February 10th, 2011
Today, the Defense Committee for arrested oppositional youth activist Jabbar Savalanli held a press conference in Human Rights House

Representatives of political parties, media and civil society institutions deemed this charge both biased and discriminatory. It was claimed that the arrest was made under a political directive.
Commenting on the motives behind the arrest, journalist Shahvalad Chobanoglu said that Baku has become seriously concerned over the revolutionary developments in Egypt and Tunisia. “It has started to punish any political activity that could constitute a threat to power. The problem has grown so much that the authorities have begun to put pressure on the opposition whenever their names are mentioned in any newspaper or websites.
Savalanli’s lawyer Asabali Mustafayev talked about the violation of legal procedures during the activist’s arrest. He said that Savalanli had not been provided with a lawyer during the arrest, that his rights were not explained to him, and that he was forced to testify against himself. The lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the Sumgayit police department. The lawsuit will be heard on February 14. It is not even known whether Savalanli is a drug user or not. “It is not known if he uses narcotics or not, but it is a fact that he is in prison for a crime that he has not committed.”
 “It’s clear that the arrest is fabricated. We will inform the international community and condemn these men,” said Head of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party Youth Committee Abulfaz Gurbanli.
Rights defender Saida Gojamanli said that the Ombudsman’s Office and MPs have been informed about this issue. The employees of Ombudsman’s Office visited Savalanli on February 9 and 10 and said that they are trying to have the activist released.
Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg has also been informed about this arrest.
APFP Chairman Ali Karimli agreed that the arrest was politically motivated. He spoke about Savalanli’s arrest, the detention of APFP opposition members in Sabirabad, and the police interrogation of youth activist Elchin Hasanov.
IRFS Director Emin Huseynov deemed the charge false and libellous. According to him, the drug business is supported by law-enforcement agencies, particularly Customs offices. Huseynov mentioned that he was recently detained by Customs employees, even though they were not using special checking equipment.
The event was concluded with the statement by the Defense Committee. The statement charges the ruling regime with repression and demands the immediate release of jailed political and social activists, including Jabbar Savalanli, Ruslan Bashirli and Eynulla Fatullayev.