The National Council of Democratic Forces opposition party has announced plans to hold a demonstration in Baku on Saturday, January 26. Although authorities have not authorized the demonstration, protesters are expected to gather near Mehsul Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The demonstration is being organized in support of jailed anti-corruption blogger Mehman Huseynov, despite Azerbaijan's Prosecutor General's Office announcing on January 22, that all criminal charges had been dropped. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are expected if the rally is held.
Rallies in support of Huseynov have been held in Baku throughout January. Huseynov was arrested in March 2017 on defamation charges and sentenced to two years in prison. He was originally scheduled to be released in March 2019 but a new criminal case was brought against him on December 26, 2018, for allegedly beating a prison official. Huseynov denied the charges and launched a hunger strike. Journalists and political activists claim that the accusations are false and an attempt by the government to silence Huseynov, who exposed alleged high-level corruption and highlighted social concerns in his online videos.
Individuals in Baku are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests as a precaution, and avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public or on social media platforms.
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