Azerbaijani activist goes on hunger strike while under arrest
Political arrest in Azerbaijan
Activist and defender of workers’ rights Afiyeddin Mammadov, who was arrested two days ago, went on a hunger strike in the isolation ward of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan. This is the third administrative arrest in the last 10 months on his account. This time he was convicted by two courts at once on different charges. In one court he was fined, in another he received 30 days of administrative arrest. Mammadov stated that the charges against him are fictitious and believes that he is being persecuted for his activist activities.
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Third arrest in the last 10 months
On August 3, the chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions, Afiyeddin Mammadov, went on a hunger strike in the pre-trial detention center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This was announced to Voice of America by the chairman of the Democracy 1918 movement, Ahmed Mammadli.
“The lawyer said that two courts had passed unlawful sentences against Afiyeddin. Therefore he went on a hunger strike in protest. He was also deprived of the right to call his relatives.”
On August 2, by decision of the Khatai District Court of Baku, the activist was fined AZN 500 under Article 528.1 (failure to comply with the requirements of the executive body in connection with the execution of decisions of the court and other bodies) of the Code of Administrative Offenses.
On the same day, the Yasamal District Court of the capital sentenced him to 30 days of administrative arrest under Articles 510 (petty hooliganism) and 535.1 (deliberate disobedience to a police officer or soldier) of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Azerbaijan Republic.
Ahmad Mammadli said that this is the third administrative arrest of Afiyeddin Mammadov in the last 10 months, and each time he was sentenced to 30 days.
“This is the third time he has been slandered. Of the last 10 months, he will have to spend 90 days under arrest,” Mammadli said.
Two trials in one day without the protection of a lawyer
An employee of the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ibrahim Amiraslanli, said that Mammadov “was detained in connection with his being put on the wanted list due to non-payment of debt obligations established by the court.”
“The materials collected in relation to Afiyeddin Mammadov were sent to the court for consideration. By a court decision, he was arrested in an administrative order,” he said.
According to Ahmed Mammadli, Zibeyda Sadigova, Afiyeddin Mammadov’s lawyer, was not informed about the time of the beginning of the court session, so the activist remained before the court without representation.
“In court, the lawyer was told that Mammadov’s case had not yet been submitted for consideration, while the Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that he had already been arrested,” Mammadli said.
As for the allegation of an unpaid debt, Mammadli said that it was a tax debt in connection with Mammadov’s business activities in 2017-2018.
At the same time, the court decision on the debt obligation was made in 2019, and Mammadov was informed only recently.
“Afiyeddin went to the execution department and paid part of the debt. The rest of the amount, according to an official agreement with the bailiff, it was decided to pay monthly in installments. Despite this, he was arrested, which confirms the political motives for his persecution.”
An appeal was filed against the court’s decision.
Activist arrested after couriers protest
Afiyeddin Mammadov was detained on August 1 following a protest by food delivery couriers who expressed dissatisfaction with the seizure of their scooters due to changes in traffic rules.
The police demand category A driver’s licenses from couriers under the pretext that moped engines exceed 50 cm3. This rule came into force on December 16, 2022 due to changes in the law “On Road Traffic”.
A joint statement from the Confederation of Trade Unions and the United Couriers Trade Unions notes that motorcycle riders are required to submit a customs declaration in order to obtain license plates. However, motorcycle sales points do not provide such documents, as motorcycle suppliers process them as imports of spare parts.
“Those who engage in courier activities are suffering due to tax evasion by motorcycle suppliers,” the statement said.
What is Afiyeddin Mammadov’s occupation?
The Confederation of Trade Unions, headed by Afiyeddin Mammadov, was established on March 1, 2022 by a group of activists. It consists of a number of sectoral trade unions, which are united in a common platform “Desktop”. This confederation positions itself as an alternative to the official Confederation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan, which is a pro-government structure that does not protect the rights of workers.
The goal of the Confederation of Trade Unions “Desktop” is to combat labor exploitation, provide free legal assistance to workers, restore the tradition of a genuine trade union movement in Azerbaijan, encourage workers to organizational structuring and joint struggle for their rights.