Trial of truck drivers that blocked a street in Baku as a form of protest has started

Illustration of the truck drivers’ mobilization. Source: Meydan TV

In February of this year, a group of truck drivers organized a strike and blocked the Heydar Aliyev Avenue, one of the most busy roads of the Azerbaijani capital. The slogan “Goods are spoiled because permits are not issued” was written on the trucks.

They were protesting against the head of the State Motor Transport Service Anar Rzayev, and the slow bureaucracy process to get licensing for transporting goods. According to the truck drivers, the permit’s rules have change since Rzayev took office. They accuse him of favoring his brother’s transport company by giving it a high number of licenses, which are limited.

As a response to the action, the drivers were detained. Two of them were sentenced to 30 days of administrative detention, and one was sentenced to two months in prison.

Although three of the drivers of the R Group Azerbaijan truck company, which held the protest, were administratively sentenced to 30 days in prison, a criminal case was opened against the head of the company, Ramish Jafarov. Jafarov, who has been in prison for six months already, is now being brought before the court. He was charged with fraud that leads to a large amount of damage, and with organizing actions violating the public order.

The head of the company is being tried together with his father, Zakram Jafarov. During the investigation period, a mandatory restraining order was imposed on him.

On the day of his arrest, Zakram Jafarov gave a statement to journalists in which he talked about an attack of “black masked men” to his house and the beating of his son by the same group.

In the materials of the criminal case, it is alleged that Ramish Jafarov violated the public order by blocking the road, as well as he and his father caused damage to several people by not transporting goods and seizing the cargo.

However, both father and son do not consider themselves guilty. They believe they were punished for protesting.

The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied the allegations that “black masked men” attacked the Jafarov’s house and beated Ramish Jafarov.

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