Police tear gas relatives of deadly 2018 Ganja riot convicts protesting verdict in court
Police have used tear gas in a Baku courtroom during a hearing for defendants in the case of riots that took place in the Azerbaijani city of Ganja back in the summer of 2018, in which two policemen were killed.
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Relatives of the protesters, several of whom have been convicted to seven to nine years in prison, were outraged by the court’s decision today to simply lessen prison sentences to 4-4.5 years in prison, instead of acquitting them outright.
In response, relatives of the convicted began to shout, overturn benches and break windows. They were then forcefully removed from the courtroom.
The Ganja affair
An assassination attempt was made on the head of Ganja, Elmar Valiyev, on July 3, 2018. Local resident Yunis Safarov shot at Valiyev and his bodyguard – neither were killed, but the shooter was detained.
Later on July 10, protest in defence of Yunis Safarov broke out in front of Ganja city hall, with about 200 people in attendance. A clash between protesters and police took place – two security personnel were killed in the fighting.
One of the suspects in the murder of the policemen died in detention several days later, and a second man was arrested.
Criminal cases were opened against 60 people suspected of involvement in the protest. In March
2019, several of them were sentenced to five to eight years in prison on charges of organising a riot and resisting the police.
On August 28, 2018, Elmar Valiyev was dismissed from his post as mayor.
Relatives of those arrested, who claim the charges are unfair, have already held several protests in both Ganja and Baku – so far without result.