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    March 11, 2013

    The disappearance of one of the organizers of a peaceful protest against the deaths of several young conscripts allegedly as a result of hazing – a violent initiation ceremony - by the Azerbaijani military is the latest in a string of actions by the authorities to crackdown on dissent, Amnesty International said today.

    Ilkin Rustamzade was detained on 9 March and has not been seen since. Three of the other organizers were arrested before the demonstration in a sting operation on 8 March. Police claim to have found drugs and incendiary devices in the homes of Mahammad Azizov, Bakhtiyar Guliyev and Shahin Novruzlu.

    All three were forced to appear on state television reading pre-prepared confessions, prompting fears that they have been tortured. They face long prison sentences if convicted.

    The peaceful demonstration, which took place on Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, was broken up by police with rubber bullets and water cannon.

    January 14, 2013

    A thorough, independent investigation is needed into what appears to have been an orchestrated attack on Azerbaijani opposition presidential candidate Isa Gambar on the campaign trail, Amnesty International said.

    According to Gambar’s Musavat Party, he was on his way to campaign in the southern coastal city of Lenkoran on Sunday when 10 vehicles attempted to block his convoy at the city’s entrance.

    A Musavat spokesperson told Amnesty International that a crowd of more than 100 people then pelted the candidate’s convoy with rocks and eggs taken from nearby trucks, smashing the car windows. Nine people in Gambar’s entourage were injured including several who were punched and kicked and Musavat Party deputy leader Gulagha Aslanli, who had his foot run over by a car.

    During the ambush, a Musavat Party photographer, Mehman Karimov, was briefly detained for questioning by men in plainclothes who appeared to be directing the crowd. He was released after they returned his camera.


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