Azerbaijan has sentenced the head of an independent election monitoring group to five-and-a-half years in prison for criticizing the 2013 presidential polls.
According to Press TV, Anar Mammadli, chairman of the Azerbaijani Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS), was sentenced on Monday by the Baku Court for Serious Crimes.
Mammadli was found guilty of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of power, charges he denies.
His group scrutinized the polls in which Ilham Aliyev secured a third term in office.
Azerbaijani and international rights groups condemned Mammadli’s arrest in December 2013 as politically motivated, demanding his release.
Aliyev, now 52, took power in 2003 in a disputed election after the death of his father Heydar.
On October 10, 2013, the election observation mission at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Azerbaijan’s presidential vote had been marred by significant problems and shortcomings.