Second Opposition Youth Leader Detained in Azerbaijan

BAKU (AFP)–Authorities in Azerbaijan said Tuesday they had detained a prominent opposition youth leader in connection to alleged anti-government activity that received backing from a US democracy group and neighboring Armenia.

Law enforcement officers detained Said Nuri–deputy head of the Yeni Fikir youth movement–on Monday–a spokesman for the prosecutor general’s office said.

"It is likely that charges will be pressed tomorrow," he told AFP.

The spokesman’said Nuri’s detention was linked to the arrest last month of Yeni Fikir’s leader–Ruslan Bashirli–who was charged with plotting a Ukraine-style uprising backed by the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI)–a democracy pressure group–and money from Armenia’s government.

Another deputy leader of Yeni Fikir–Fikret Farmazoglu–said Nuri had been detained for "preparing to overthrow the government of Azerbaijan and receiving funds from groups interested in doing this."

NDI has denied training Yeni Fikir members to overthrow the government–while Yeni Fikir claims the allegations against it are a government smear campaign ahead of parliamentary elections in November. However–parliament speaker Murtuz Alasgarov–along with representatives of international organizations–realizes that the developmen’s that happened in Georgia and Ukraine can’t occur in Azerbaijan–stressing that "the crisis in the Ukrainian government and the situation in Georgia rule out the possibility of a revolution in Azerbaijan."

Alasgarov said that during the meetings he held in the United States–representatives of international organizations and parliament speakers expressed confidence that Azerbaijan’s November parliament elections will be democratic.

Alasgarov said that the officials he met with have ‘certain views’ on the forthcoming poll–but all of them believe the elections will be free and fair.

"The Azerbaijani people know well who they will vote for at the polls," he added.


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