Former Azerbaijani Minister of Defence arrested in Baku
Seventy-four-year-old Rahim Gaziev, the former Minister of Defence of Azerbaijan was sentenced to ten days’ administrative detention on 26 December. Gaziev was detained the night before and accused of disobeying police orders.
Neither Gaziev’s lawyer nor relatives were present at the court session when the verdict was read. His brother told the Turan News Agency that he was informed of the court’s decision only at the end of the working day by the 17th Police Department of the Narimanov district of Baku. However, throughout the day police officers denied that Gaziev was in their custody. No information about where he was being detained was provided to his lawyer Zibaida Sadigova.
Local human rights activists believe that the reason for his detention could be an interview that Gaziev did with the internet Channel-13 TV that was posted to YouTube on 21 December. In the interview, he strongly criticized the President of Azerbaijan.
Gaziev’s arrest contradicts Azerbaijani legislation. According to the code of administrative violations, men over the age of 65 cannot be placed in administrative detention.
Rahim Gaziev was a member of the board of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party. From March 1992 until February 1993 he was the head of the Ministry of Defence. After Heydar Aliyev came to power, he was arrested and sentenced to death on charges of serious crimes. Later, the sentence was replaced by life imprisonment, then reduced to a sentence of 15 years. President Illham Aliyev pardoned him in 2005.