Afiaddin Mammadov, the coordinator of Azerbaijan’s Alternative Confederation of Trade Unions, was sentenced to two months in pretrial detention in September 2023. Charged with deliberate infliction of bodily harm and armed hooliganism (based on a bogus accusation by an unidentified man claiming Mammadov stabbed him with a knife) originally, based on the hearing on November 15, in which the court extended Mammadov’s detention by an additional two months, turns out it was his outspoken criticism on social media platform Facebook that landed him behind hars.
Based on the reporting from the hearing by journalist Ulviyya Ali, the judge said, “I have seen your Facebook profile. What have you written there about the “one-day” war?” Mammadov said he wrote nothing about it. The judge then persisted, “Why did you write that President Ilham Aliyev has resolved the 30-year-old problem?” Mammadov after hearing this question told the judge, that he had criticized the president and his decisions a lot, and that he was certain the reason behind his arrest, was these previously written posts and comments on the social media platform and not him stabbing someone.
Mammadov repeated over and over again that he committed no crime. And that no one, should be put on trial, for wanting peace.
This is not the first time an activist is accused of a crime he did not commit in Azerbaijan. The country has a long-running history of putting its critics behind bars, handing administrative fines, and using various tools of intimidation to silence its state’s critics.
Mammadov is among several activists targeted since September.