Opposition group REAL’s request for congress venue rejected

Authorities say they may agree to reschedule the congress by 3 December

The Baku City Main Department for Culture and Tourism


an appeal from the Initiative Group of the Republican Alternative Party (REAL) to make a venue available for its founding congress, says a statement from the REAL movement. The congress had been scheduled to take place today, 29 October.

“Their response says that Tabriz and Baku cinemas, which were requested as a venue for the founding congress, do not belong to the Department,” REAL explained in their statement. “As for the Bahlulzadeh Palace of Culture, a film screening will be taking place there on that day.”

The REAL Movement had planned to hold its founding congress on 29 October 2017, where leaders had hoped to transform the movement into a political party.

After receiving the rejection from the Department for Culture and Tourism, the Initiative Group asked the Baku City Executive Authority to make a venue available for its congress. The appeal was sent to the Main Department for Culture and Tourism of the Baku City Executive Authorities. At a press conference held on 27 October, REAL leaders


that authorities had told them that the congress could possibly be rescheduled by 3 December.

The REAL movement was founded in 2009. The movement is guided by republican ideas. The chairman of the movement, Ilgar Mammadov, was arrested in January 2013 over the events in Ismayilli. He was charged with organizing mass riots. A court sentenced him to seven years in prison.

The European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling urging his release, but he currently remains in prison. The Council of Europe

recently notified

Azerbaijan that it will take unprecedented legal steps against Baku unless it releases Mammadov by November 29.

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