Various sources are today reporting that the imprisoned human rights defender Rasul Jafarov will be held for an additional three months without trial after his arrest in an Azerbaijan authority crackdown on dissident voices earlier this year.
Jafarov will now be held in custody for a total of six months before facing a criminal trial and possible prosecution. Many are claiming that the court ruling to extend his pre-trial period is an attempt by authorities to hold Jafarov as long as possible and that the activist and campaigner is being detained as a political prisoner.
Jafarov was arrested earlier this year on charges related to fraud that have been internationally condemned as false. According to colleagues and supporters the 29 year old was arrested because of his work in promoting democracy and free-speech in Azerbaijan, which was interpreted by authorities as anti-regime.
The decision to extend Jafarov’s pre-trial period was denounced by several groups, including the international rights group Civil Rights Defenders, who have previously labelled Jafarov’s case as an example of political oppression.