political activist says he faced pressure by local police after refusing to share his phone password

A member of D18 political movement, Afiaddin Mammadov, who was arrested on November 11 and sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention said during his appeal court that all the claims about him allegedly breaking a windshield and resisting police were untrue. Instead, he was taken against his will on November 11 by six plain-clothed men and brought to the Main Police Station according to Meydan TV reporting. 

Mammadov also said that police demanded he shared the password for his mobile device and when he refused he was tortured. He was then sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention without any further investigation into the alleged crime he committed. The activist said he was also refused a lawyer.  

According to Meydan TV reporting, Mammadov said in court, that shortly before his detention, he was interviewed by an online news platform Toplum.TV. In the interview, he said he will stage a demonstration less police provided information on the whereabouts of another D18 member, Orkhan Zeynalli. Zeynalli was detained by the local police on November 11 and was sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention on November 12, according to reporting by Turan News Agency. 

During Mammadov’s court hearing despite lawyer Zibeyde Sadighova’s attempts to get the judge to overrule the decision and release the activist as well as provide traffic camera footage to confirm alleged crimes committed by Mammadov and investigate the torture Mammadov faced during detention, none were met. 

Police detains political activist over Facebook posts

A member of a political movement D18 was detained by the police on November 11. Speaking to the local media the head of the movement Ahmad Mammadli said the activist, Orkhan Zeynalli was taken by the police over his Facebook posts that were critical of the police. 

According to Mammadli, the problem started a month ago when Zeynalli went to the police to file a complaint over a stolen bike [Zeynalli worked as a courier delivering food]. The police offered a different kind of assistance – a fee in an exchange for them to help him find his stolen bike. Zeynalli wrote about this exchange on his Facebook after which police called him in asking to remove the post. They were unaware of his political activism prior to seeing his post on Facebook. 

Assured, Zeynalli hid the post, but a month later, after receiving no news, Zeynalli shared another ironic post about the police force, explained Ahamd Mammadli in an interview with Meydan TV. 

Zeynalli was asked to visit the police station yet again, this time, Zeynalli refused, given there was no official letter from the police. 

That day, Zeynalli went out of his home to fix the electricity outage which according to Mammadli, was caused by the police. “Plain-clothed police officers detained Zeynalli on the spot. Zeynalli’s wife watched all of this happen,” noted Mammadli. Zeynalli was sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention on November 12, according to reporting by Turan News Agency. D18 had another member sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention on November 12 as well – Afiaddin Mamedov – but on what grounds remains unclear.

This is not the first time, political and civil activists are detained by the police over their social media posts. Most recently police detained another political activist, a member of the opposition Popular Front party over social media posts. According to reporting by Meydan TV, Emin Akhundov was briefly detained by the police on October 31 over a post in which he criticized disproportionate police violence against political activists. Akhundov was released the following day. 

 

teacher arrested over social media posts

On May 22, a high school teacher Jalil Zabidov was arrested and sentenced to five months in prison on charges of hooliganism according to reports. Zabidov was also a member of D18, an opposition movement.

According to his family members, and members of the D18 movement, Zabidov often shared stories and news of corruption in his village.

In October 2019 D18 was targeted online. Its Facebook page was hacked and the group lost thousands of followers. According to one of the movement’s founders, Ruslan Izzetli, the attack was targeted and was the result of a recent Facebook post the group shared on their page, calling on the current Minister of Internal Affairs, Vilayet Eyvazov’s resignation.