Opposition leader's hunger strike continues, protest in Baku
Six days have passed since the well-known Azerbaijani opposition member Tofig Yagublu announced his hunger strike in protest of his arrest. Young activists have set up a protest in the centre of Baku demanding his release, while his lawyer has submitted an appeal.
The court’s decision concerning Tofig Yagublu, a member of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, remains the number one topic in Azerbaijan. He was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months imprisonment in a strict corrective colony.
Yagublu was arrested 22 March, 2020 in Baku on charges of hooliganism. According to the court documents, he caused a car accident and hit a married couple in the other vehicle. Yagublu had already been imprisoned from 2014 to 2016 on charges of organising mass protests, following which he was detained for 30 days for taking part in the opposition’s mass protests in Baku on 19 October, 2019.
Yagublu himself disputes the charges, considering them to be politically motivated. The day before the Baku City Nizami District Court sentenced him, he went on hunger strike, to last until he is freed.
Yagublu’s supporters have signed an online petition calling for Azerbaijan’s government to release the opposition leader as soon as possible. More than 4.5 thousand people have already signed the petition.
Young activist members of the Free Left Union have posted about a mass protest in the centre of Baku. The organisers are demanding the release of Tofig Yagublu. The protest is planned for Wednesday, 9 September, at 15:00.
Yagublu’s lawyer, Agil Layic, posted on his Facebook page that he had submitted an appeal. The date of the appeal is as yet unknown.
The US and UK embassies in Baku have requested that the government of Azerbaijan review the court’s decision.
Erkin Gadirli, a member of parliament with the Republican Alternative Party, has also called for Yagublu’s release.