Detention of “Muslim Unity” movement member extended

On July 16th, Nasimi District Court extended the term of detention for the deputy chairman of the “Muslim Unity” movement, Elchin Qasimov, by three months, despite health issues and unwarranted disciplinary action against him in detention.

As reported by

Caucasian Knot

, Elchin Qasimov was detained on November 5th of 2015. Initially accused of hooliganism and violence against the authorities, further accusations have since been added to the charges against him including intention to commit a terrorist act. If convicted, he will face life in prison.

His arrest

triggered protests

across Azerbaijan.

Elchin Qasimov’s Lawyer, Elnur Nabiyev, told Caucasian Knot that he and his defendant intend to appeal the decision to extend the period of detention.

Members of the movement “Muslim Unity” have been persecuted en masse in Azerbaijan. In July, a case concerning the leader of the community, Taleh Baghirzade and 17 of his supporters was brought to court, in which they were accused of serious crimes including terrorism and organizing riots.

Taleh Bagirzade

According to

Radio Free Europe

, Taleh Baghirzade was also taken into police custody on November 26th of 2015, when four Shi’ite Muslims and two members of police personnel lost their lives in clashes in Nardaran.

Qasimov has serious health issues, his lawyer reported:

“During the first days following Qasimov’s arrest, he was tortured by the police. He has serious problems with the functioning of his internal organs. He was imprisoned in an isolation ward, despite his health problems.”

Qasimov provided a confession to police. However, his lawyers insists that it was given under duress:

“The investigators threatened Qasimov that if he did not confess, his father would be arrested as an accomplice. The International Organization of protection of religious rights “Forum 18” acknowledged him as a “prisoner of conscience.”

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