Azerbaijani Protesters Fined Under New Mass-Gatherings Law

By RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
January 14, 2013

Twenty-one men have become the first in Azerbaijan to be penalized under a new, tougher law on mass gatherings that took effect on January 1.

They were charged with participating in a demonstration in the center of Baku on January 12 to raise awareness about the deaths of army conscripts.

They now have to pay fines ranging from $380 and $760.

The average salary in Azerbaijan is about $400 per month.

The new law, passed in November, increased fines up to 30-fold, with a maximum penalty of $3,800.

The demonstration in Fountains Square was organized online by activists after the death of conscript Ceyhun Qubadov last week.

Army officials launched an investigation into the death after Qubadov's relatives published photos of Qubadov's body that appeared to show evidence of violence.