Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Azerbaijan's Arrest of Vote Monitor Draws Outcry

The arrest of an independent election monitor in the oil-rich authoritarian former Soviet state of Azerbaijan drew vocal international condemnation Tuesday. A court in the capital, Baku, on Monday ordered that Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center chairman Anar Mammadli be detained for three months as investigations are carried out into claims he was engaged in illegal entrepreneurship. The center, which has for years faced routine harassment from the authorities, conducted extensive monitoring of widely criticized October elections that secured a third term in power for iron-fisted President Ilham Aliyev. The US Embassy in Azerbaijan said it was deeply troubled by Mammadli’s arrest and that it was compelled to question whether the “detention is related to his organization's election monitoring and reporting activities.”

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