Updated (July 29)
Following the statement of the Ministry of Interior, Faraj Karimli was sentenced to three months of pretrial detention by Narimanov court district on July 24. Kerimli considers himself innocent. He told this to Elchin Behbudov, who heads the Committee against Torturet. Behbudov visited Kerimli during his detention. Kerimli did not raise any complaints said Behbudov in an interview with local Turan news agency. Kerimli’s only request is to have more frequent walks due to his health condition- Kerimli is suffering from kidney disease.
Kerimli’s lawyer Nemat Kerimli [not related] is not allowed to visit his client to this day.
Updated (July 24)
In a press statement today, the Ministry of Interior said Faraj Kerimli is accused of promoting psychedelics via social networks. Hence the young man was detained yesterday. Moreover, following a thorough inspection drugs were found on Faraj as well. Perhaps this is another way of the officials accepting the fact that Faraj was detained originally for his online activities.
It is rather suspicious that yesterday the Ministry was unaware of Kerimli’s whereabouts and didn’t know who he was. Today however, there is a whole charge brought against him.
Earlier today (July 23), the deputy chairman of the youth wing of the opposition “Musavat” party, Faraj Kerimli was reported to disappear. In a statement by Elman Fatah, who heads the Political Organizations Relations Department at the party’s headquarters, Kerimli was taken by the plain-clothed men just outside the Baku Health Clinic where Kerimli was last seen with his mother. Fatah considers the case as “kidnapping” as Kerimli was seen driven away with a bag over his head and surrounded by plain-clothed men.
Nemat Kerimli, lawyer overlooking the case, said coincidentally on July 17, Kerimli’s brother, Siraj who has no political affiliation was arrested on drug possession charges. “It is likely”, said the lawyer, “the law enforcement body originally ordered Faraj’s arrest. Siraj was arrested by accident. However following Siraj’s arrest, his brother was under on-going surveillance. Finally the opportunity came to kidnap him while he was visiting the clinic”, added Nemat Kerimli.
Faraj Kerimli, is also one of the administrators of the party’s website (musavat.org) and was the administrator of the Facebook page “Resign” [Istefa in Azerbaijani] which was set up during the election period and attracted more than three hundred thousand members. The page was shut down by the Facebook administrators.
In another statement, the lawyer Nemat Kerimli, said there is no information on the whereabouts of Faraj yet. Although the lawyer spoke with the Ministry of the Interior and the Prosecutor General there is still no available information. The press service at the Ministry of the Interior promised they were looking into the case and that there was no need to worry.
“Musavat” party considers the kidnapping politically motivated especially as government’s attempt to crackdown on independent minded youth. In a statement released by the party, immediate release of both Faraj and Siraj Karimli were demanded.