Police beat and detain protesters including candidates and journalists
*Update at 01:11 12 February Baku time: All those detained have now been released.
Police use violence against protesters and journalists
Rabiya Mammadova, a candidate from the 3rd constituency of 10th Binagadi district, held a rally in front of the Central Election Commission (CEC) on 11 February.
She, among others, protested the irregularities in the 9 February parliamentary elections.
"Violations of ballot stuffing, group voting and vote counting. I have video of all of these [violations taking place]. These images have been published on social media and in the media. The CEC has not seen them".
Elman Guliyev, a candidate from Binagadi Yasamal constituency No. 12, also attended the rally, protesting the irregularities in the electoral process.
Shortly afterwards, other candidates, their lawyers, observers and consultants joined the group.
Police dispersed the rally, detaining over 20 protesters and journalists, forcing them onto buses and driving them out of the city center.
Meydan TV reported that police harassed protesters and journalists.
Journalist Aynur Elgunesh was hit in the head by police and fell to the ground. After the fall, they continued to beat her. Journalist Aytaj Tapdig was also reported to be in poor condition. Reports that Musavat election representative Arzulla Bulutlu's ribs were broken by police.
Journalist Aynur Elgunesh, who was among the detainees, told Meydan TV they were taken by bus to an unknown direction:
"I don't know where we are going. There are 22 people on the bus. The police used violence against the participants and journalists when they were detained."
Among the detained candidates were Rabiyya Mammadova, Togrul Ismayilov, Farhad Mehtiyev, Elman Guliyev, and Turgut Ganbar, Erzulla Buludlu, activists Gulnara Mehtiyeva, Vafa Nagi, Bayram Mammadov, Rustam Ismayilbeyli, and Giyasamed Aydinul.
As of now, almost all that were on the buses have been released, with some going to the hospital for treatment. The police has reported that one person is still detained.
On 9 February, early parliamentary elections were held in Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev said in his statement that the elections reflected the will of the Azerbaijani people.
However, international observers reported a multitude of violations.
On 10 February 10, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) together with PACE and OSCE PA held a press conference on early parliamentary elections.
All three observation missions said the 9 February early parliamentary elections were not in line with European democratic norms and did not consider them an expression of the will of the Azerbaijani people.
On 5 December 2019, President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree on the dismissal of the parliament, or Milli Majlis, and the appointment of early elections for 9 February 2020, after the ruling party called for parliament to be dissolved.
Some opposition forces have said that the election was moved forward about 8 months ago so opposition parties and candidates would have less time to properly prepare.
Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan were to be held in November this year.
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