Opposition figures questioned by police ahead of planned rally

Musavat party member was told he was ‘free for the time being’

Ahead of an opposition rally planned for 10 March to protest against the snap presidential elections, members of the Musavat party have been questioned by the police.

Gulaga Aslanli, head of Musavat’s general affairs department, said he got summoned to the police on 6 March. He described the tone of the conversation as threatening.

“They told me they know where the party is funded from. I told them that if they knew, they should give me the facts.”

According to Asanli, about 20 heads of Musavat’s district branches were summoned to different police stations on 6 and 7 March. They were all allowed to leave by the end of the day.

Mustafa Hajibayli, head of the Musavat press service and editor of Bastainfo.com, was told by police officers that they were not happy with him calling for participation in the opposition rally. They threatened to file criminal charges against him for theft, sending money to criminals and hooliganism at the police station. Police officers let him go a while later, telling him that he was ‘free for the time being.’

The head of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), Mazahir Panahov, said that the opposition was holding the rally on 10 March illegally, as presidential election campaigns cannot start before 19 March. Holding a rally and expressing your opinion about a candidate would constitute a violation of the Electoral Code.

Azerbaijani opposition forces are scheduled to hold a rally at the Mahsul stadium in Baku’s Yasamal district on 10 March. The rally will take place under the slogans “Freedom for political prisoners”, “No to corruption” and “We protest against increasing prices”.

The rally is organized by the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), the People’s Front and the Musavat party.

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