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Youth activist arrested, sentenced to pre-trial detention

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 3 August 2009, at about 6:00 a.m. (local time), "Hadaf" Youth Coalition leader Agasif Shakiroglu (Ibrahimov) was detained in his apartment by the Narimanov District Police Department Police Unit 18 and sentenced to a month of pre-trial detention under article 321.1 of the Criminal Code (evasion from military call to avoid military service without evidence).

Shakiroglu talked to the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) about the incident in the Narimanov District Court. "Today, in the morning, I was taken to the police department and then to the Narimanov District Prosecutor's Office. There I was told that a search warrant had been issued about me for avoiding military service. I said that I never tried to evade military service and was told by the Narimanov District commissariat that I should go there when I receive an invitation to military service. However, an indictment has been issued against me under article 321.1 of the Criminal Code (evasion from military call to avoid military service without evidence)," said Shakiroglu, emphasizing that his arrest is politically motivated due to his socio-political activity.

Shakiroglu added that there's a possibility that his arrest is connected to his critical opinions recently posted on http://www.mia.az . On 31 July, he expressed his opinions about cases of death and other illegal actions in the army.

"I think they try to scare young adults, to lessen socio-political activity and to distance them from socio-political activity," added Shakiroglu recalling the recent arrest of young bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade. He said his arrest was likely the continuation of the same trend and these arrests serve the same purpose.

Narimanov District Court Judge Vugar Mammadov sentenced Shakiroglu to one month of pre-trial detention. The hearing was held behind closed doors at 5:30 p.m. and the decision was read at 6:30 p.m. Shakiroglu's relatives and media representatives were not allowed to be present at the hearing.

Shakiroglu's lawyer, Bahruz Guliyev, told IRFS that he considers the pre-trial detention unfounded and will file an appeal against the decision.

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