Azeri opposition leader faces charges after illegal rally

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — The head of Azeri opposition party Popular Front faces legal action after authorities arrested him in Baku for attempting to lead an unsanctioned demonstration.

Ali Karimli was detained Saturday while leading a procession through Baku’s Alley of Martyrs, a national cemetery, to honor Azerbaijan’s fallen on a holiday marking independence from the Soviet Union.

A Baku police statement said Sunday that “as a result of police efforts to prevent an unauthorized rally, 52 participants were detained by the police.” The statement said that 41 were released and 11 remained in detention.

Among those freed was the head of another opposition movement, Jamil Hasanli of the National Council of Democratic Forces, who was arrested with Karimli for organizing the rally.

Karimli and the 10 activists still in detention face administrative charges.

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