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OPPOSITION ACTIVIST FORCED INTO MILITARY SERVICE

This article was published on 31 October 2017 at 12:37 AM. It has 119 views so far.

On 26 October, opposition activist and N!DA movement board member, Ulvi Hasanli, was forced into military service. Previously his conscription had been postponed until 2019 due to health problems. His lawyer has suggested that Hasanli’s sudden conscription may be a punishment for his political activities.

In September 2016, Hasanli was medically examined at the State Service for Mobilization and Conscription, according to a statement from N!DA outlining his case. Based on the results of the examination, which revealed the activist to be suffering from rheumatism and kidney disease, his military service, which is obligatory in Azerbaijan barring deferral, was postponed until 2019.

In early October 2017, Hasanli was summoned to the enlistment office again for a new medical exam. An ultrasound scan showed that he had kidney stones and an inflammation, but nevertheless he was scheduled for another exam later that month.

On 25 October Hasanli’s test results were suddenly different. After a new ultrasound scan, the N!DA board member was told that his kidneys were healthy. On 26 October, Hasanli was sent for more tests to the Cardiological Hospital, only to be detained there by the military police. The police escorted him from the hospital to the enlistment office, from where he was sent directly to a military base at the front line to perform his military service.

In the statement, N!DA points out that their board member was sent to the military base without prior warning, without even being allowed to say goodbye to his family.

“It doesn’t look like a normal conscription, it looks like punishment,” said defense lawyer Elchin Sadigov. “They effectively abducted Ulvi Hasanli. If Hasanli’s rights are not restored, we will appeal to the domestic courts and then to the European Court on Human Rights.”

According to N!DA’s official website, the group was created with the goals of “ensuring the rule of law,” “bringing about socio-economic changes,” and “building a civil society and a democratic state in Azerbaijan.” Since its founding in 2011, N!DA has faced severe state repression, and several N!DA members are currently serving long prison sentences.