Mahir Azimov, 40, is a member of the Muslim Union Movement. Azimov was arrested on drug possession charges according to reporting by Azadliq Radio, Azerbaijan Service for Radio Liberty. But activist claims the accusations are bogus, and that the real reason behind his arrest was his online activism – namely, critical posts on the state of war veterans in Azerbaijan.
Azimov is just one of several movement members arrested in recent weeks. According to monitoring by Azerbaijan bulletin, another citizen of Azerbaijan, based in Turkey Imran Mammadli was detained and his deportation is expected. Mammadli too was critical of the Azerbaijani state on social media reports Azerbaijan bulletin.
In his own statement, Azimov said, the day he was arrested and taken to the local police for questioning, he was questioned over his social media posts in which he criticized the authorities over their treatment of Karabakh war veterans. “They [police] showed me these posts. This is why I have been arrested,” said Azimov.
As a result of the pressure faced during the questioning, Azimov signed a confession letter in which the religious activist claimed indeed he had drugs on him. However, in court, Azimov said the statement was signed under duress.