Two More Azerbaijani Activists Detained

BAKU -- Two Azerbaijani activists have been detained by police in Baku, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Sakhavan Soltanli, from the youth wing of the opposition Musavat party, was being held at a police station but was expected to be released after questioning, his brother Qadim told RFE/RL. He added that plainclothes police had been watching the family's home for the past three days.

Rashadat Akhundov
Also taken into custody on March 8 was Rashadat Akhundov, a member of the NIDA Youth organization who earlier participated in opposition protests.

The U.S. Embassy in Baku issued a statement on March 7 expressing concern at the March 4 detention in Ganja of a third youth activist, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, who has allegedly been mistreated while in detention and denied access to a lawyer.

The Azerbaijani Interior Ministry has warned ahead of a virtual Facebook protest planned for March 11 that any unsanctioned protests in Baku or elsewhere will be "resolutely" dispersed.

The Musavat party tried to apply to the Baku municipal council for permission to stage a protest on March 12, but officials refused to accept the application on the grounds that the work day had ended.

The Islamic Party of Azerbaijan (IPA) said on March 8 that it plans to apply for formal permission to hold a protest to demand a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the elimination of "Islamophobia," and the release of senior IPA members who were detained in January.