On the 12th of August, executive secretary and cofounder of ReAL movement (Republican Alternative), Natiq Jafarli, was arrested and accused of illegal enterprise and abuse of authority.
News of his arrest was first released by his lawyer, Javad Javadli, on his personal Facebook page.
Javad Javadli was informed that Natiq Jafarli had been placed in detention at the investigation department on grave crimes of the Attorney General. Upon his arrival at the location, however, the lawyer was told that his client had been removed to Nasimi district court.
As reported by Radio Azadliq, Member of ReAL movement, Erkin Qederli, assessed the arrest and its motives as political. He also noted that the movement would do all it could to defend Natiq Jafarli. Another member, Azer Qasimli, stated that he believed the order for Natiq Jafarli’s arrest was ordered by the Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev himself.
Natiq Jafarli has been sentenced to four months detention preceding his trial date.
, Jafarli’s lawyer, Javad Javadli, has filed an appeal against the pretrial detention as of August 15th.
ReAL movement leader, Ilgar Mammadov, arrested in 2013, is currently serving out a seven – year prison sentence for his supposed involvement in the Ismayilli riots of 2013, when local residents demanded the resignation of the then acting mayor. The European Court on Human Rights has acknowledged that Mammadov’s arrest was also politically motivated, reports the
The Caucasian Knot also reported the following comment from ReAL movement on the significance of Jafarli’s arrest:
“His arrest is a test for the governments of the USA and the EU, who claim that their priorities lay in the protection of human rights and democracy…the subject of the test is their loyalty to these values. In the forming situation, they have the opportunity to reaffirm their commitments, and place sanctions on the ‘suffocators’ of democracy.”