Sunday, April 7, 2013

Azeri Muslims Protest Theologian’s Arrest

    Sunday, April 07, 2013   No comments

By Idrak Abbasov

The arrest of an Muslim theologian who preached against the government in Azerbaijan has sparked a new show of opposition in which representatives of secular parties have sided with Islamists.

Police arrested Taleh Bagirzadeh, 29, on March 31 and charged him with possession of drugs, an allegation often used against opponents of the government.

On April 1, devout Muslims and opposition activists took to Imam Hussain Square in Baku to show their support for Bagirzadeh.

Veysal Gasimov, a member of the opposition Popular Front party, was arrested and sentenced to ten days in jail for taking part in the protest, which attracted between 500 and 600 people.

Further demonstrations followed on April 2, in the town of Lenkoran close to the Iranian border, and in the village of Nardaran, a village 25 kilometres north of the capital Baku which is a focal point for Azerbaijan’s majority Shia Muslim faith.

Residents of Nardaran promised to carrying on protesting both in the village and in Baku until Bagirzadeh is released.


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