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On 4 May, the Sumgayit City Court heard the criminal case launched against APFP youth member Jabbar Savalanli, who was charged with drug possession. Judge Ilgar Mammadov presided over the hearing, and sentenced the youth activist to 2.5 years in prison.
Many of Savalanli’s supporters tried to attend, along with media and embassy representatives outside the court building. However, they were told that courtroom was too small, and the judge made an additional request that media representatives be refused entry. After the breaks, several journalists were permitted entry.
Savalanli tried to ask a question of state plaintiff who put forward the motion for his sentence, but the judge told him that he was not allowed to do so.
Savalanli’s lawyer, Anar Gasimov said that his client had sent letter to the public, declaring that he had been arrested for his fight for freedom, and that the drug possession charges were a foil.
Azerbaijan Popular Front Party member Jabbar Savalanli was arrested on February 5, 2011. He is being charged with drug possession, but it is widely thought that his arrest was politically motivated, linked to criticism of the government he posted on social networking sites. Journalist Eynulla Fatullayev is also is in prison for the drug possession.