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Azerbaijan: yet another opposition lawyer disbarred

Another of Azerbaijan’s prominent defense lawyers was effectively disbarred late last week, the third such incident involving attorneys for opposition figures in recent months. Elchin Namazov, who had been representing four defendants involved in street protests in April, was expelled from Azerbaijan’s “Collegium,” an organization that vets attorneys for participation in felony trials. Lawyers Khalid […]

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Azerbaijan: Convictions for Protesters and Former Parliament Candidate

Azerbaijan: Convictions for Protesters and Former Parliament Candidate

Azerbaijani courts have convicted and sentenced seven defendants in cases relating to protests in April of this year and the parliamentary elections last November. Six defendants (Babek Hasanov, Zulfugar Eyvazov, Elshan Hasanov, Arif Alishli, Elnur Israfilov and Sahib Karimov) in Baku were convicted of charges of “organizing actions resulting in the violation of public order […]

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Georgia: Nino Burjanadze’s Husband Sentenced in Absentia

Georgia: Nino Burjanadze’s Husband Sentenced in Absentia

Badri Bitsadze, the husband of opposition leader Nino Burjanadze, was sentenced by a Tbilisi court on Friday to five years and six months in prison on charges stemming from violent demonstrations in late May. Bitsadze—whose whereabouts have been unknown for months—was sentenced in absentia by the court. Rumors have persisted since early June that he […]

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Amnesty International Petition on Behalf of Jabbar Savalan

Amnesty International Petition on Behalf of Jabbar Savalan

Amnesty International has put up a petition addressed to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, appealing for the release of Jabbar Savalan, the young pro-democracy activist who was charged with drug possession and convicted in May. As noted on this blog earlier, Savalan was arrested “after calling for protest actions on Facebook and attending a youth conference in […]

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Nagorno-Karabakh: cause for optimism?

I wonder if something significant is brewing regarding the Karabakh issue.  Yes, yes, I know: “something significant” has seemed to be in the offing year after year after year.  And no breakthrough ever takes place. But I say this because the three OSCE Minsk Group presidents (Barack Obama, Dmitri Medvedev, and Nicolas Sarkozy) issued a very unusual […]

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Two dead in Georgian protest violence

Two dead in Georgian protest violence

Reports out of Tbilisi indicate that at least two people were killed early today (26 May) during a police crackdown on demonstrators outside the Parliament building on Rustavelli Avenue.  Police moved in shortly after the midnight, when the permit for the opposition rally expired, intent on clearing the area for today’s Independence Day parade, which […]

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Azerbaijan: Fatullayev released from prison, Hajiyev sent to prison

Azeri journalist Eynullah Fatullayev, who has been serving a variety of prison sentences since April of 2007, was given his freedom today in one of President Aliyev’s amnesties.  As readers of this blog are aware, the charges against Fatullayev had ranged from libel to inciting terror to tax evasion – and more recently, to drug […]

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Georgia headed for violent confrontation as protests continue

Georgia headed for violent confrontation as protests continue

Protest rallies in Georgia, begun over the weekend in Tbilisi and Batumi, seem to be headed for violent confrontation today (Wednesday afternoon in the US, early Thursday morning in Tbilisi) after apparently failing to achieve the goals of their organizers or to attract widespread public support. It’s not that the latest opposition movement (called the […]

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Azeri youth activist sentenced to prison for "drug possession"

Azeri youth activist Jabbar Savalan was convicted last week (4 May) on charges of marijuana possession and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.  As readers of this blog may recall, Jabbar was arrested in February after calling for protest actions on Facebook and attending a youth conference in the city of Sumgayit.  […]

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US Ambassador denied entry to Armenian cemetery in Azerbaijan

US Ambassador denied entry to Armenian cemetery in Azerbaijan

US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza has been denied permission to visit the Armenian cemetery in the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan.  Bryza had promised to go to the (former) cemetery, located in the village of Djulfa, during his confirmation hearings before the US Senate last year after he had been criticized for what was perceived […]

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Azerbaijan: arrests, criminal charges follow weekend rally

Azerbaijan: arrests, criminal charges follow weekend rally

Azerbaijan experienced the latest in a series of rallies on Saturday, with several hundred (or perhaps several thousand, depending on the source) people attempting to demonstrate against the government of President Ilham Aliyev in central Baku. Police arrested as many as two hundred protesters during what was billed as a “Day of Rage” or “Day of […]

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Azerbaijan: arrests and anti-Kerimli campaign prior to opposition protest

Azerbaijan: arrests and anti-Kerimli campaign prior to opposition protest

Police in Azerbaijan have arrested “several youth and opposition activists” ahead of a protest rally scheduled for 2 April in Baku, RFE/RL reports.  Three of those arrested have been released, but at least three others have apparently been given “administrative sentences” of between five and ten days. However, an Azeri source tells me that more […]

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Armenia's opposition: "last warning" to president, but more rallies to come

Armenia's opposition: "last warning" to president, but more rallies to come

The latest opposition rally in Yerevan was held last Thursday, led by the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and its chief Levon Ter-Petrossian, Armenia’s first president.  The latest in a series of demonstrations, this one was notable for the protesters reaching Freedom Square, a symbolic victory.  The turnout may have been as large as the previous […]

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Azerbaijan's vague "threat" to shoot down Armenian airliners

A number of news organizations reported today that Azerbaijan is threatening to shoot down civilian airliners if they use the new airport in the Nagorno-Karabakh capital city of Stepanakert. The re-opening of the airport, closed in the early stages of armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the fate of Karabakh in 1991, was announced […]

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Azerbaijan: deconstructing the "closure" of NGOs and social unrest

Azerbaijan: deconstructing the "closure" of NGOs and social unrest

I’d like to start with an addendum to the story alleging that the Azerbaijani government has ordered the closure of the local NDI (National Democratic Institute) office.  As reported on this site yesterday, NDI had issued a denial that they had been told to cease operations. I didn’t weigh in on the matter, and will […]

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About the Author

Karl Rahder
Karl Rahder

Karl Rahder has written on the South Caucasus for ISN Security Watch and ISN Insights (http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/ISN-Insights), news and global affairs sites run by the Swiss government. Karl splits his time between the US and the former USSR - mostly the Caucasus and Ukraine, sometimes teaching international relations at universities (in Chicago, Baku, Tbilisi) or working on stories for ISN and other publications. Karl received his MA from the University of Chicago, and first came to the Caucasus in 2004 while on a CEP Visiting Faculty Fellowship. He's reported from the Caucasus on topics such as attempted coups, sedition trials, freedom of the press, and the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. For many years, Karl has also served as an on-call election observer for the OSCE, and in 2010, he worked as a long-term observer in Afghanistan for Democracy International.

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