The rally in defence of the opposition party members ended with a brief arrest of two attendees
Journalists and civil activists went to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs building today with an unusual collective letter addressed to its Minister Ramil Usubov. The letter urged the minister to arrest all the signees, following the earlier arrests of four members of the opposition Republican Alternative Party (REAL).
Four REAL members have been sentenced for 30 days imprisonment on charges of violating public order, hooliganism and resisting the police. The arrests took place following the festive procession in honor of the Republic Day (28 May) in Baku. The detainee’s party associates and journalists link the circumstances to the participation in the procession as the real reason for the arrests.
An appeal letter to the Minister of the security agency was signed by more than 100 people who had also participated in the procession. Among them are well-known figures as investigative journalist Khadija Ismail and Head of the Union of Journalists of Azerbaijan Elchin Shikhly.
“This was an initiative of members of civil society, not the party. The idea came from discussions held by the people who participated in the organization of the festivities,” Khadija Ismail stressed.
It was not possible to hand the letter to the Minister nor the press service of the Ministry. Instead, activists dropped the letter addressed to Minister Yusubov in a nearby mailbox. Two participants, filming the events, were arrested only to be released an hour later. Police justified their arrest due to a ban on video recording near the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.