Azerbaijani Opposition Activist Detained After Release From Psychiatric Clinic

BAKU — A member of the opposition Popular Front Of Azerbaijan (AXCP) has been detained by police a day after he was released from a psychiatric clinic where he was held against his will for almost three days.

Aqil Humbatov’s wife, Aygun Humbatova, told RFE/RL that her husband’s co-workers told her that two men in civilian clothing apprehended the activist in Baku’s Xazar district at around 5 p.m. on April 2.

According to Humbatova, she has not been able to locate her husband, nor have Baku city police given a reason for his detention.

Humbatov told RFE/RL earlier that he was detained on March 30, a day after he placed a post on Facebook that criticized the government and President Ilham Aliyev for ignoring the rights of poor children, many of whom need medical treatment.

The same day, a court ruled that Humbatov must be placed in a psychiatric clinic, citing some witnesses who claimed that they saw Humbatov taking off his trousers outdoors.

On April 1, Humbatov was abruptly released, after which he placed new posts on Facebook describing the conditions in the psychiatric clinic as “inhuman” and “horrible.”

Critics of longtime President Aliyev’s government say the authorities in the oil-rich South Caucasus country frequently seek to silence dissent by jailing opposition activists, reporters, human rights defenders, and civil society advocates without grounds.

Dozens of AXCP members have been arrested, and some imprisoned, in recent years on what their supporters call trumped-up charges.

Aliyev denies any rights abuses. He took power in 2003 shortly before the death of his father, Heydar Aliyev, a former KGB officer and communist-era leader who had ruled Azerbaijan since 1993.

Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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