MASS ARREST OF RELIGIOUS FOLLOWERS IN AZERBAIJAN UNDER TERROR CHARGE

January 11th, 2011
The Baku City Chief Police Office (BCCPO) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) released a statement on a series of arrests of religious followers that began on January 7th.

According to the statement, the police arrested Azerbaijan Islamic Party head Movsum Samadov on January 7th, based on the information received about preparations of an act of terrorism by Samadov.
“At that time, Samadov and other passengers in his automobile were resisting the police officers,” the BCCPO information says.
The MIA press service reported that the Ministry received information that Samadov had tasked his cousin Dayanat Samadov, a Guba resident, with preparing violent actions, disrupting public safety and provoking people into a holy war.  Based on this information, the Main Fight Against Organized Crime Department began an investigation.  A shop of electricity equipment, owned by Movsum Samadov’s father Mardan Samadov where Dayanat Samadov was employed, was inspected and 3 hand grenades were found. In addition, 7 ammunition cartridges and electronic storage devices that contained propaganda on religious extremism were revealed. Dayanat and Mardan Samadovs were arrested as suspects.
BACKGROUND
Mohsun Samadov, his driver Mirhuseyn Kazimov, party department head Vagif Abdulayev and party activist Elchin Hasanov were arrested on January 7th. Shahin Hasanli, the religious leader of the “Mashadi Dadash” mosque was detained on January 9th, but he was later released. On January 10th, residents Nuraddin Darafarin and Babak Hasanov, theologian Zulfugar Mikayilzade, National and Moral Values Public Union Head Mehdi Mammadov, Deputy Head of Islamic Party Elchin Manafov, Islamic Party Spokesman Akif Heydarli and others were detained. About 20 religious followers have been detained in Ganja, a source told Objective TV on the condition of anonymity.
The Azerbaijan Islamic Party Chairman criticized the hijab ban in the Party assembly on January 2nd and assessed it as a moral damage to Azerbaijani people. The video of the meeting was disseminated on social networking sites (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DQ7Sb7ZQvI&feature=player_embedded). It is supposed that the party chairman and his supporters may have been arrested because of this.