Azeri opposition activist jailed


A senior Azeri opposition activist has been sentenced to six years in prison on hooliganism charges.

A court in the city of Lankaran on Monday found Yadigar Sadiqov guilty of beating up a war veteran last June.

Lawyers for Sadiqov, who is a political adviser to the opposition Musavat party, said the verdict was politically motivated and pledged to appeal.

He is the latest opposition figure to be jailed in what rights groups say is a crackdown by the government in Baku.

Dozens of journalists, opposition activists and bloggers have been arrested in Azerbaijan in recent years, accused of possessing drugs and weapons or charged with hooliganism.

But according to human rights groups, the charges are trumped up - an attempt by the government of authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev to stamp out any dissent in the oil-rich country.

Mr Aliyev won a third term in last year's presidential election, describing it as a "triumph of democracy".

But the country's opposition groups alleged widespread fraud.

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